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- Why is Riker so disinterested in the ancient Earth spacecraft? Isn't finding stuff like this exactly the kind of thing starfleet is out there for?
- How does Picard make it into the 20th century people's quarters so quickly? Did he beam outside of the door?
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- Worf walks into the door on the ancient space vehicle expecting it to open.
- Picard, seems busy and annoyed: "What is it doctor?" Beverly: "It's the people from the capsule." Picard, confused: "Capsule, people, what people?" I just like the way he says that. Like he's in a rush or something. Then when Beverly says she thawed them, Picard says, "You what?" But then listened to her and accepted it.
- I like how Beverly explains how their conditions were terminal in the 1900s but not in the 2300s.
- Picard getting pissed at Data for bringing up frozen people and Data standing his ground.
- The 20th century girl's reaction to seeing a Klingon for the first time was silly, but Picard's line shortly after became famous. "Welcome to the 24th century."
- Data: "Her occupation: homemaker. Must be some kind of construction work."
- I like the question and answer regarding the Enterprise being an "American" ship.
- 20th century music man: "What is that?" Data looks behind him, oblivious to the fact that music man was talking about Data.
- Troi's briefing to Picard on what Romulans are all about is great.
- I absolutely love Data talking about how TV becomes obsolete by 2040. A TV show predicting the fall of TV! Then of course music man's shallow reaction. "You don't drink and you don't watch TV, your life must be boring." So true of people's interests today.
- Riker talking about how the unfrozen people have no redeemable qualities.
- The second Romulan briefing is just as impressive as the first. Everyone is alert, the discussion is intriguing.
- Picard: "Data, identify. What is the Q.E.2?" Data: "It was a passenger liner which traveled mostly Earth's Atlantic ocean during the late 20th and early 21st centuries." Picard: "He's comparing the Enterprise to a cruise ship?" Picard was obviously annoyed at the fact that the guests weren't aware of the fact that the Enterprise was the flagship of the Federation.
- Picard to Offenhouse: "We are in a very serious and potentially very dangerous situation." Offenhouse: "I'm sure whatever it is seems very important to you. But my situation is far more critical." What arrogance! Picard: "I don't think you are aware of your situation or how much time has passed." Offenhouse: "Believe me, I am fully aware of where I am and when. It is simply that I have more to protect than a man in your position could possibly imagine. No offense meant, but a military career has never really been considered to be upwardly mobile. I must contact my lawyer." Picard: "Your lawyer has been dead for centuries." Offenhouse: "Yes, I know that. But he was a full partner in a very important firm. Rest assured that firm is still operating." Picard: "That's what all this is about... A lot has changed in the last 300 years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy." Offenhouse: "You've got it all wrong. It has never been about possessions. It's about power." Picard: "The power to do what?" Offenhouse: "To control your life. Your destiny." Picard: "That kind of control is an illusion." Offenhouse: "Really? I'm here, aren't I? I should be dead. But I'm not."
- No surprise but the rest of Picard's scene with the 20th century people is great.
- I love the doctor trying to keep from getting pissed at music man in sickbay when he asks for drugs and sexually harasses her.
- Data's scene with music man was good too. I like how directly he explained 24th century politics to him. Music man: "What is that neutral zone?" Data: "It is a buffer zone between the Romulan Empire and the Federation."
- I love how Picard kept refusing to be as aggressive as Riker and Worf wanted toward the Romulans.
- The Romulan ship decloaking is absolutely thrilling.
- Worf's outburst and the revelation that his parents were killed at Khitomer by Romulans.
- Picard's discussion with the Romulans onboard the Romulan ship was fantastic.
This episode makes an interesting statement regarding freezing a person after his or her death to preserve their life woven together with a thrilling, mysterious, edge-of-your-seat Romulan plot. I like how everyone assumes Romulans are responsible for the outposts being destroyed only to discover later that they were not responsible. The military tension on board is very like the Red Scare and fear of Communism, which of course this episode is supposed to represent, like many early Romulan episodes. I also like how the previous hostile history with the Romulans makes diplomacy with them now a carefully played complex chess match. Virtually this entire episode is one great moment after another, and we even get some valuable character development along the way, such as a bit about Worf's past. The frozen people and Romulan plots compliment each other very nicely in many ways too. For example, by uncovering these people out of time, the characters get a chance to tell us how much the Federation is an improved version of us. And Picard only reinforces this in his dealings with the Romulans. A great show.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-09 at 7:52am:
- Why does the Enterprise just hang in space waiting for Picard to return in the shuttle? Why doesn't the Enterprise warp over to get him? It can travel much faster than a shuttle, and as it turns out, speed is of the essence. As soon as Picard reaches the bridge, he sets a course for the Neutral Zone at warp 8!
- When Offenhouse wanders onto the bridge, Riker orders Security to have him removed. The Security guys do rush over and grab him, but then they get mesmerized by the decloaking Romulan ship. What kind of military discipline is this?
- While Riker is talking to the recently thawed humans, Picard pages him. Riker gets up from his chair, walks over to a companel, touches it, and responds. Riker is notorious for not touching anything when it comes to communications. And why would he get up and walk over to a companel when he could just slap his chest? Obviously it is a plot contrivance to allow Offenhouse to see how they work so that later in the episode he can bother Picard.
- From carsonist on 2009-03-28 at 2:14pm:
I was proud of myself for recognizing that the Romulan you see on the left is the actor who later plays Gul Dukat. He still has the same speech patterns.
In all, a good episode.
- From onlinebroker on 2009-09-21 at 10:39am:
Best episode in season 1, but the end feels a bit weird. So the romulans didnt destroy the outpost, who did? Nobody cares and they just leave? Weird.
- From thaibites on 2009-12-03 at 4:05am:
BORING...we needed less losers from the past and more Romulans.
- From Roland on 2010-04-16 at 9:42pm:
This episode, IMO, sets the stage for the introduction of the Borg
- From rpeh on 2010-06-20 at 8:58pm:
One of the most overrated episodes. The whole thing is so rushed, you have to assume it was originally intended to be a two-parter and got cut down later on. Beyond comic relief, the frozen humans offer nothing and the only purpose of the Romulans is to come out with that awful "we're back" line.
In brief: the humans serve no real purpose; the Romulans serve no real purpose... so what is the purpose of this episode?
- From Bernard on 2010-06-21 at 6:36pm:
I agree completely with rpeh. This episode is decidedly average. There is some talk of the palpable tension when the Romulans make their appearance? Well someone must have forgotten to tell me about it because there is little tension in this episode about 21st century humans trying to deal with waking up 300 years later. While that is an interesting premise it it very rushed and wasted on this episode. As is the reintroduction of the Romulans. They do not threaten, or hint at aggression. There simply is no 'game of chess'. They simply appear near the end to huge hype and there is no payoff at all.
Overall I would say the fan rating of 6.5 is a pretty good indicator, I'd give it a 5 or 6.
- From linearA on 2010-09-03 at 4:58am:
I was bothered by the preachy talk about how people in the 24th century no longer fear death. Still, I was able to overlook the episode's shortcomings, and I consider this the first top-notch episode.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-28 at 3:49am:
I don't rate this episode very highly, but it did have its moments. When I first watched this episode, and saw the huge new Warbird uncloak in front of the Enterprise, I thought it was pretty cool. The Romulan plot had some definite suspense. But most of the episode was dedicated to the cryogenics plot, which totally clashed with the Romulan plot; the suspense was broken up by silly 20th century antics. Also, the suspense is something of an unfulfilled promise. Of course it sounds interesting to say "The Romulans disappeared mysteriously, nobody has seen them for 50 years, and now they are back!" It sounds like a teaser to make you watch a TV show. But when nothing interesting is really ever made of the premise, it is hard to give it any brownie points.
Some of the 24th-20th century clashes are interesting as far as how they develop and explain the Star Trek universe. Picard's statement about how the purpose of life in the 24th century is self-improvement, not survival or making money, is particularly memorable to me. But primarily the screen time was spent with the 20th century humans annoying the Enterprise crew, which I didn't find entertaining.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 3:17pm:
This episode fleshes out one of the main themes of TNG: the idea that life is no longer about acquisition of material wealth, power, fame, or any of the other external status symbols that we strive for, but is instead about internal things: Intellectual, artistic and spiritual pursuits.
That is, as long as the pursuits are not in the form of organized religion, which is generally panned by TNG. But I digress.
The idea that the Federation manages without a concept of currency is commonly expressed in TNG, as it is here. This seems rather preposterous, frankly. Currency is required for any kind of reasonable economy, and in places like Utopia Plenetia we see huge works going on. How is this managed? How does the Federation manage to obtain valuable commodities like dylithium from other races without some form of currency? In Voyager where the crew is frequently running short on stuff, they resort to barter, a rather inefficient way of organizing economic transactions.
The Ferengi certainly have a currency in the form of gold-pressed latinum, but this is a symbol of how they are less evolved.
- From Helium on 2012-02-19 at 5:46am:
I think the next time I get a sales pitch from my ISP attempting to sign me onto a TV contract I will quote Data "That particular form of entertainment [will
become] extinct in the year 2040". I really hope he is right. I hope on demand video and OLED screens 3D or whatever is coming will evolve to make TV (and pushing ADS 24/7) completely obsolete. I also hope that our species does in fact survive the 21st century. I often think that with so many Offenhouses, perhaps we will evolve into the Ferangi or perhaps even the Borg (although that would take much longer than a mere 300 years).
Anyhow I am getting slightly off topic. I LOVE this episode. There is so much to ponder. So many reasons to fall in love (again) with the United Federation of Planets. It makes me want to raise the flag, go to Starfleet Academy and put on a tight fitting jump suit. Alas I will not live that long however, after viewing this episode one can only hope we live up to our potential as a species. Let us all prove to Riker we can indeed survive the 21st century.
- From doulos23 on 2013-12-24 at 6:32am:
I believe at the core of whether this episode is liked or not has a lot to do with one's personal agreement with the Roddenberry-ian philosophies or not. It is no secret that Gene's vision was of a techno socialist Utopia. It is an easier pill to swallow the pedantic lecturing of so-called "unevolved" selfish 20 Century man if one agrees with the "promise" of such a future - and one is forgiving of Anvilicious programming. I love Trek, but caricatures are straw men no matter your personal worldview.
- From Amine on 2015-05-15 at 2:00pm:
What's with the judgment of cryonics? What a condescending reaction they all had, especially Riker with "no redeeming qualities"... how dehumanizing! There is a contradiction in them doing medicine at all and then scorning people for staying alive in this way. And Picard essentially wanted Data to murder those people in the beginning of the episode. Bizarre.
- 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.
- When Wesley starts up the holographic recording of his father, there's no communicator on his uniform. In the next scene, there is one.
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- I'm not entirely sure, but I think that this is the first episode that we're given O'Brien's full name: Miles Edward O'Brien.
- Worf's adoptive parents. Eccentric, loving people. The perfect contrast to cold, hardened Worf.
- Picard's nephew. An icon of innocence.
- Picard's brother. A miserable conservative.
- Picard's initial conversation with his friend Louis.
- Guinan asking Worf's adoptive parents why he never had prune juice.
- Guinan saying just the right stuff to make Worf's adoptive parents feel better about themselves.
- Robert and Jean-Luc's initially adversarial conversation regarding "what the devil happened" to him up there.
- Robert and Jean-Luc's brawl and subsequent moment of bonding. The part where Picard goes from laughing to crying in an instant is beautiful.
- Robert and Jean-Luc getting roaring drunk after their brawl bonding.
This episode features an incredibly moving story and excellent continuity. Worf's discommendation is discussed. Picard's aftermath from the Borg incident is examined. Picard's family is shown to us in detail, finally. Wesley getting in touch with his feelings again regarding his late father and other details. This episode is wonderfully woven into the series. Only an episode as carefully conceived as this one can have no scenes on the bridge and no action and still be great. Picard's scenes with his brother were simply beautiful. Some of the finest acting I've ever seen.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-03 at 11:19am:
- Many times Star Trek will dispense too quickly with disastrous encounters in a character's life. For instance, it would have been very easy to jump right into a new set of adventures after rescuing Picard from the Borg. Instead, the creators took an entire episode to explore the emotional changes that the experience caused in Picard's life. Excellent!! One of my favorite TNG episodes.
- Does it strike anyone else as odd that everyone in France speaks with an English accent during this episode?
- From Wayne on 2009-07-13 at 2:12pm:
If I remember correctly this was also one of the lowest rated TNG episodes when it was first broadcast.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-02-24 at 3:09pm:
My wife and I watched this one last night. It was definitely a different type of episode and quite enjoyable. Picard's recovery and return to his home was heart warming and the rivalry with his brother was very realistic and brought their personalities out. Worf's story was also enjoyable and we always get a kick out of Worf's over the top Klingon reaction to things. Wesley still gets on my nerves but this was a better than usual story for him. Overall I gave it a 9 as I did miss some of the "real" science fiction.
- From thaibites on 2011-04-03 at 3:12am:
I usually don't like human relationship episodes, but this one is really strong and a pleasure to watch. I think what makes it so strong is that the stories are all central and vital to each character - Wesley's father's death, Worf's discommendation, and Picard's emotional scars after being violated by the Borg. This is all pretty intense stuff, and there is no wasted fluff here. Great episode!
And yes, I was wondering why everyone in France spoke with a British accent. I always wondered why Picard spoke with a mild British accent if he was supposed to be from France. Oh well, c'est la vie...(written with a British accent just to be consistent)
- From CAlexander on 2011-05-26 at 3:06pm:
An excellent episode, very good all around. I wouldn't picture Picard as the sort of person that bonds with his brother by fighting with him, but it seems perfectly consistent with him growing up as the brash young man who picked a fight with some Nausicans and died laughing. And I love Worf's parents; they are so unlike him, but he just looks perfect as the child who is trying to be manly and is embarrassed by his doting parents. And while the Jack Crusher plot seemed rather extraneous, it too was well-written.
- From Axel on 2015-03-24 at 2:43am:
This one may have been the lowest rated episode of the season when TNG was on the air, but I think it's gotten more appreciation as time has gone by. I doubt viewers enjoyed seeing Star Trek dabble in soap opera and now it's clear this is so much more.
I agree that after Best of Both Worlds, it would've been strange to just go right to the next voyage of the starship Enterprise. Picard's visit home is the perfect epilogue. He briefly considers leaving his Starfleet career, showing just how much the Borg experience has shaken him. He and his brother continue the lifelong feud they've had, and I like that they really don't completely resolve it in the end. Instead, they reach an understanding through their fight that they both lead different lives, and that Picard's life is in the stars with his ship. The whole visit ends up being cathartic.
It was also the perfect time to show how Worf's parents handle the news about his discommendation. They don't know what exactly it means, nor do they feel entirely comfortable asking Worf the details of it. What they do know is that they need to be there for their son. Despite his rigid emotional hide, Worf shows how much this means to him.
The Wesley storyline was appropriately short, and was just enough to fill in between the others while also keeping with the theme.
- The Enterprise fired its phasers from the torpedo tubes...
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- Picard (and only Picard) gets a new uniform in this episode. Curiously after he ripped it, he's not seen wearing it in the final scene. Seems he couldn't be bothered to replicate a replacement...
- Data has encountered 1754 nonhuman races in his time with starfleet.
- The discussion of the Tamarians in the opening scene. A species which WANTS relations with the Federation, but communications could not be established. Excellent idea!
- The Tamarians and their unique language.
- Picard's confrontation with the Tamarian captain. He throws down the dagger rather than enter (supposed) combat, while his first officer risks combat with the Tamarian ship.
- The campfire scene with the Tamarian captain and and Picard on the planet.
- Troi and Data attempting to decipher the Tamarian language.
- Picard refusing to fight the Tamarian captain, not realizing it was an alliance he sought.
- Picard cracking the Tamarian language.
- Picard screaming "No!" when the Enterprise attempts to beam him up, away from the battle.
- Data and Troi cracking the Tamarian language and explaining it to Riker.
- Picard attempting to speak to the injured Tamarian captain using his language.
- Picard discovering why the Tamarian captain brought him to the planet to fight alongside.
- Picard telling the story of Gilgamesh.
- The Tamarian captain's death.
- Picard speaking the Tamarian language with the first officer of the Tamarian ship.
The most underrated episode in Star Trek history. We have two plot threads. First, Picard refuses to fight the Tamarian captain and vigorously attempts to understand his language. Second, Riker's attempts to rescue Picard at all costs and using violence if necessary. These two different approaches taken by Picard and Riker contrast each other beautifully. And ultimately it is Picard's cracking of the Tamarian language which saves the day. Regarding that, I absolutely love the way Data sums up this language barrier. They know the grammar of the Tamarian language, but not the vocabulary. Speaking in metaphors and saying only proper nouns holds no meaning to a listener who doesn't understand the reference. But in time, as Picard demonstrated, the language could be deciphered. A properly educated linguist and historian could adequately communicate with the Tamarians. I felt thoroughly bad for the Tamarian captain in the end. What a great man, who makes a truly noble sacrifice in the hopes to establish friendship with the Federation. To sum it up, this is an extremely intelligently written episode and one of the finest examples of what Star Trek really is all about.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Vlad on 2006-03-31 at 9:11pm:
When I want to introduce a non-trekker to the world of Star Trek I make them watch this episode. Isn't this a marvelous compliment? To me this is Star Trek at its best. The idea that we must find unity even if we must pay the ultimate price is extraordinary and oh so resonant in this day and age.
But the philosophy of the piece is really presented through Picard. On a personal level he makes a new friend... and loses him, but in the end comes to understand his sacrifice. As a Starfleet officer, he is given a tough assignment, but he manages to do what he does best - preserve the piece and help bring about mutual understanding. On a universally human level we are left to ponder a very difficult question: Would we do the same if we were in the place of the Tamarian captain?
Now, if only I could find the way to communicate to my mom just how good this episode is and make her watch it with me ;)
- From Pete Miller on 2006-04-14 at 7:24pm:
Problem: If the language is based solely on reference to myth and history, then how does a child learn what happened in these myths? The language can only be spoken by referencing to something that both communicating parties are familiar with.
A fine episode, but it just seems like speaking only in metaphor is an extremely improbable form of communication.
- From Bob Bracegirdle on 2006-08-04 at 10:10am:
I could never see why Picard deciphered the language but for years previously the Federation had tried without success. Apparently they never even got the idea of metaphor. Were they stupid? I jumped to that conclusion within seconds of hearing it at the beginning of the episode - clearly a greek myth allusion.
- From benq on 2006-12-05 at 7:53pm:
Darmok is another one of those episodes that reminds us that other races don't value life and freedom the same way we do. The language barrier is a poor excuse for the inciting incident of stranding Picard and the Tamarian captain on the planet with a disappearing beast, and even the explanation of the language barrier is dubious, given the historical overtones of every language. It has its place in the season 5 arch, but Darmok is probably one of the worst executed TNG stories that nevertheless touch us.
- From DSOmo on 2007-09-04 at 9:07am:
Data and Troi deduce that the Tamarians speak in metaphor when they cross-reference the proper names "Darmok" and "Tenagra" to a mythological account from one of the planets nearby. After they give this information to Riker, Troi claims that communication is hopeless, since all they know is that Darmok was a hunter and Tenagra an island. If they know that Darmok is a mythological hunter, doesn't it seem likely that they would have access to some of the stories about him? Out of those stories, they might find something they could use.
- From KStrock on 2009-01-27 at 2:55pm:
How could they have cultural stories on file about a race with whom they have no prior relationship?
- From Wes on 2010-05-07 at 7:07pm:
You make a great point about Starfleet uniform code with Ro's earring and Worf's sash. Another interesting thing is that Mr. Mott said that he cut Commander Riker's hair a few days earlier. Look at Riker's hair. Sure doesn't look like he recently got a haircut. In fact, looks to me like he is due for one.
- From Vinny on 2010-07-29 at 8:41pm:
Call it absurd fanboyism, but the one thing I remember clearly from seeing this episode the first time is totally falling in love with Robin Lefler, the first on-screen performace Ashley Judd ever made. Ah, the agony... I would have SO traded places with Wil Wheaton in the episode "The Game".
- From tigertooth on 2010-10-20 at 9:53pm:
To me it seemed as if the Tamarians lacked verbs. They used nouns, prepositions, and adjectives, but I don't recall any verbs. That was kind of interesting.
But as a previous commenter said, the idea that they could speak only in references seems far-fetched.
- From Quando on 2011-08-12 at 10:20pm:
My question is this. How did a species with a language like this ever manage to develop the technology of space travel? I mean, how do you explain the technical specifications for building a warp core (or even a Model T) using only analogy to mythical figures? How would you even ask someone to hand you a tool? "Kinta, his 3/8" wrench open, his eyes red"! How do you talk about things like return on investment, varying interest rates, detailed medical procedures, etc. The whole language only seems suited to conveying basic ideas and emotions. It seems to me that a species with a language like this would never advance beyond the basic tribal hunter-gatherer stage.
- From Will on 2011-10-29 at 1:55am:
The fact that you can rate this episode a 10 after all of the times you downrate episodes for bad science astounds me. As Quando and Pete have pointed out, the main premise of this story is scientifically implausible. I, for one, believe that the implausible is at the core of what science fiction should be, but based on your attitude toward episodes with such absurd science as this thus far, it seems unfair to be giving this episode a 10.
- From Kethinov on 2011-10-30 at 1:22am:
There's nothing fundamentally unsound about a language arising in this way. The fact that it's extremely improbable is an asset to the story in that the universal translator can translate the literal meaning of the words spoken but not the true meaning of their metaphorical basis.
While I realize that it is hard to imagine a society being capable of functioning this way or developing advanced technology, I don't necessarily think it's beyond the bounds of realism, especially if you assume that the Tamarians have brains which more intuitively grasp metaphor or that there is a crucially emotive characteristic to the language.
For instance, how a metaphor is stated and what body language is used may be just as important as what metaphor was used. The episode itself concludes by acknowledging that further study of the language would have to be done to fully grasp all its nuances. Just because the episode doesn't give us all the answers doesn't mean that no answer is workable.
Since, in my judgement, the technical issues presented by the language aren't unworkable, the omissions of detail are not sufficiently distracting to the story, and the story itself is an outstanding piece of drama and science fiction, I stand by my classification of the episode's perfect score.
- From packman_jon on 2012-05-13 at 10:33pm:
Very good episode. Tough to really get into, but this episode really rewards the viewer.
- From RM on 2012-08-03 at 7:33pm:
This is one of the episodes that I like to watch even though they don't make terribly much sense. It is sufficiently suspenseful and has its good moments, definitely resulting in an entertaining episode that does more than show mindless battles.
On the downside, the presented concept of the language never seemed convincing to me. I don't refute the idea that a civilization might base many of its expressions on metaphors (you could say that so do we in some respects; think of expressions like "a Valentine to all fans"). When talking about complex topics without requiring infinite time, many of the metaphor references might have to be "compressed", but possibly what we saw in the episode was sufficient for efficient communication. Likewise, the problem of how to describe the meaning of a metaphor in the first place does indeed exist, but this might indeed be achieved with a limited vocabulary.
My two major gripes, however, were on the one hand how the language can possibly include references to off-world myths even for basic concepts. Does that mean the language only evolved after the Tamarians got in touch with cultures from other planets? Highly doubtful. On the other hand, I always wondered why the federation would be able to correctly translate prepositions and a few nouns when the meaning of the statements was unknown in the first place. How could a translator trying to figure out an unknown language (no matter whether it's a computer program like the universal translator or a living being doing that work) possibly know that in a sentence like "Shaka, when the walls fell." (note that what we see as English is actually incomprehensible Tamarian here) there's a proper name "Shaka" and four single words that mean "when the walls fell"? Wouldn't that translator recognize the same indicators used when deciphering other alien language that the topic is "failure" and then consider "Shakawhenthewallsfell" as one word, meaning "failure"?
As much as forgotten Earth colonies are a trope that should be avoided, I'm convinced that the language trouble would have been a great deal more plausible if the Tamarians had originally been from Earth. That way, they could have used English words while the meaning of the sentences still wouldn't have been clear.
- From TheAnt on 2013-11-02 at 7:33pm:
Cpt Picard on Forbidden planet.
This is indeed one excellent episode.
And even though Picard suspected that there would be a duel, I did assume that the alien indeed were proposing that they were going for a hunt as a means of building bridges between the two peoples.
I've never lost a limb on a mountainside and as certain as the bear crap in the woods there had to be a monster challenge - one that had me think of the invisible beast from Forbidden planet.
I found the comment by Pete Miller amusing since his name suggest he is from a culture that have a language that indeed use a lot of metaphors in daily use.
Even so both the British and Americans are able to learn their language - also myself. So I do not see any problem in that respect.
There's several examples on Earth of languages such as synesthetic ones, where the universal translator would be a lead balloon.
So why not for one completely different species that have grown up on one isolated planet.
And no actor but Patrick Stewart could have done the summary of the Gilgamesh epic as well as here. A solid 10 as certain as the pope wear a funny hat. :)
- From Axel on 2015-02-21 at 11:16pm:
This has to be one of the most innovative episodes in sci-fi TV history. I agree with above comments about this being ST at its best. However, I think a lot of the concerns about the Tamarian language can be explained.
In RM's case: consider that the Tamarian captain is best able to understand Picard when Picard is telling the tale of the Gilgamesh epic. It seems the Tamarian brain can process the language of other cultures through this narrative format, even if they don't yet know all the details of the story. This may be why Darmok, a mytho-historical hunter from Shantil 3, is part of the Tamarian linguistic database. Perhaps that legend became incorporated into Tamarian culture and language over time.
There are other concerns too. For instance, how do the Tamarians handle certain basic day-to-day tasks, like "Hey, can you see if the engine coolant levels are good to go?" One explanation is that just as humans rely on metaphor in rare situations, perhaps Tamarians use literal language only when absolutely necessary, such as explaining a technical concept. Another explanation is that Tamarians may have invented their own stories that correspond to mathematical and scientific principles, in the form of music, history, and mythology.
But this is all part of the fun. Star Trek presents us with an alien race that communicates through mythological and historical reference, and lets us fill in the blanks through our own imagination. Isn't that the whole point of sci-fi? A beautifully created episode, and a wonderful contribution to TV.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Yar gives a big wave to the captain when he leaves the cargo bay at the end of the episode... uh why? Supposedly it's because it was the last scene she filmed as a regular cast member. But there's no canon reason why.
- I don't know why, but I love the looks of almost disgust Picard and Riker and the rest of the crew give each other when the freighter Saction's crewmembers speak over the hail.
- That natural electrical charge sure is handy. Yar and Riker's discussion on it is also nicely done and technically correct.
- I love the initial plague fear at the beginning of the episode before they know it's a narcotic.
- Data: "I would estimate four billion, three hundred and seventy five million--" Picard, interrupting: "Thank you Mr. Data."
- Yar and Wesley discussing drugs.
- Riker being electrocuted, the look on his face, Picard refusing to back down, the whole scene was amazing.
- Picard disgusted at the end: "Just put some distance between us and this system."
A narcotic somehow maintains an economic balance between two groups of people. How many times have we seen this in our own history? And even today? Some say that cigarettes are "the stupid people tax," seeing as how the U.S. government taxes them heavily. They tax the "stupid people" and redistribute the money to better causes by funding schools, road maintenance, and other tax funded things. Many smokers say to non smokers, "if we didn't smoke, where would all that tax money come from?" A similar dilemma is presented in this episode. Without the revenue generated from the narcotic in this episode, the producing species would supposedly not have a way to sustain themselves. The problem with that argument is that it's a cop out--denial of the real problem by using a cheap short-sighted excuse. What these people are really saying is, "I don't want to change." If smoking was banned tomorrow, schools, roads, etc, would still get paid for. Taxes would simply be collected from elsewhere. And if this symbiotic narcotic relationship in this episode were to be instantly severed, which is essentially what Picard did, the two planets would eventually get over each other and learn to survive on their own. The given here is that overcoming narcotic addiction on a global scale is preferable to short term gains acquired by exploiting its production.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-06-06 at 7:04am:
Changed Premise: If the transporter can screen out bacteria and viruses, as mentioned in this episode, how could the young people who went on the field trip in the episode "Angel One" bring back a viral infection?
- At the end of the show, La Forge calls out the new heading, "9-7-0 mark 3-1-8." The episode "Datalore" establishes that each of the numbers given in a heading cannot exceed 360.
- From Jens-Ivar Seland on 2009-05-22 at 4:34pm:
Merritt Butrick, who plays T'Jon, also plays Kir'k son David Marcus, in Start Trek 2 and 3.
- From rpeh on 2010-06-20 at 5:33pm:
The god-awful "Just say no" exchange between Wesley, Yar and Data is the single most preaching, sanctimonious scene in Star Trek. Apart from that, it's not a bad episode.
- From Nick Counts on 2010-11-08 at 8:19pm:
Sobi is played by Judson Scott, who also played Kahn's right hand man in Wrath of Khan
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-14 at 1:00am:
I found the Prime Directive issues raised in this episode very interesting. Picard's dilemma is much more abstruse than in the typical morality episode since the Prime Directive doesn't exist in the real world.
Picard's approach is interesting because, if he hadn't been aware of the political situation, he clearly would have given the Ornarans their engineering parts and told them they were not really sick. So Picard is not merely being neutral, he is actively manipulating the two sides in order to return them to the situation they were in before the Enterprise arrived.
The downside to the episode is that it strains credulity to believe that in 200 years, nobody on Ornara has ever realized he can't die from the plague or noticed what the Brekkans are doing. Perhaps the Brekkans control the government and media on Ornara, and anyone who realizes the truth is taken away by the secret police.
Also, how can the Ornarans be so stoned that they can't even remember how to maintain the space ships that they believe are critical to their planetary survival? You would think the Brekkans, at least, would try to correct the problem when the freighters started breaking down. Oh well, those silly alien races can be pretty short-sighted sometimes.
- From a2a on 2012-02-11 at 11:08pm:
The beginning of this episode made me realize something: I really enjoy how in TNG the Captain addresses and encourages the entire crew, and not just the senior officers (at least in these early episodes - for instance he did this also in Where No One Has Gone Before - and perhaps continues to throughout the series). It creates atmosphere and realism, and gives you a sense of the ship as a whole, with its full complement. When you see random crew men, they are no longer quite so random and forgettable, because they've been incorporated in some small but emotionally significant way into the main events. There's a real sense that the story is about them too, and not just about the main characters.
I'm not so sure about DS9, but this was something that was sorely lacking in Voyager, with a few exceptions. With Voyager, after a while you kind of get the sense that the ship doesn't extend very far beyond the bridge, the captain's quarters, and sickbay (and later the astrometrics lab). (BTW this is why I so strongly disagreed with Kethinov and very much appreciated Neelix' short-lived television show - it gave the ship a kind of social *atmosphere* (and incorporated the rest of the crew and their minor dramas and events...).
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Little more to say about the actual episode. Quite a good one.
A possible problem in the technical ineptness of the addicted population: I mean, they supplied their drug-dealers with all the means of survival and even prosperity, right? (Who themselves had no industry besides cultivating and producing the narcotic.) So... how inept could they really be? If they could provide for the "necessities of life" of both their own planet and another dependent one, is it really conceivable that they can't maintain their ships, can't produce replacement parts, don't have the necessary tools, and can't align their engine coils or whatever?
The resolution of the episode hinges on this technical ineptness (on a societal scale, not just with this particular crew), and I'm not sure it really squares with their role as suppliers in the relationship...
- From 1ne Moon Circles on 2012-02-18 at 4:57am:
I have done a ton of reading about Yar leaving STNG, I am still not convinced that Yar did not have a drug problem. If so the after school special scene between Yar and Young Crusher must have been so humiliating for her.
I agree with what some others have said about the drug addicts, if they were industrious enough to supply the drug dealers with all the their posh comforts
then could they really be so technicnly unaware and dim?
- From Daniel on 2014-07-09 at 5:06am:
Just one comment for this episode... In the scene where the Enterprise approaches the star, and the bridge crew is blinded by the bright light, Picard orders them to "mask out the photosphere", and a big black dot appears on the view screen and is moved into place. With 24th century technology, a big black dot is the best they could come up with to filter out bright light??? Kind of lacking on the tech level here.
- 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.
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!
Originally Aired: 1990-9-24
Riker must use Picard/Locutus to foil 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.
- The deflector pulse firing and the Borg ship shrugging it off.
- The revelation that the Borg were able to resist because they have all of Picard's knowledge.
- Riker being promoted to captain of the Enterprise.
- Riker complimenting and promoting Shelby.
- Guinan: "When a man his convinced he will die tomorrow, he will probably find a way to make it happen."
- The Borg annihilating 40 Federation starships and an unspecified number of Klingon warships at Wolf 359.
- The Enterprise separating its saucer and attacking the Borg.
- Worf and Data sneaking aboard the Borg ship and retrieving Picard.
- Picard spouting Borg assimilation propaganda to the people in sickbay.
- The Borg ship passing Saturn.
- Data hacking into the Borg Collective via Picard.
- The Borg ship destroying Utopia Planitia's defenses.
- Picard regaining his individuality.
- Data putting the rest of the Borg to sleep.
- The Borg ship self-destructing.
Why the leisurely stroll through sector 001? A half hour to make it to Earth after dropping out of warp? They didn't seem to think the Enterprise, complete with a captured Borg, was any threat at all. In any case, this episode is definitely a match for the first part's writing quality. The various firefights with the Borg ship and the method the Enterprise uses to gain victory is brilliant. My favorite scene is the final scene. Where Picard reflects silently, genuinely disturbed over the events.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-30 at 7:35am:
- In "Q Who," Q sent the Enterprise seven thousand light-years through space to meet the Borg. At the end of that episode, Guinan pointed out that the Borg would be coming. Also, Data states that it would take two and a half years to get back to the Federation at maximum warp. At the beginning of "The Best Of Both Worlds," Part 1, an admiral says that the Federation knew for over a year that the Borg were coming. Picard responds that the Borg must have a source of power far superior to their own. Yet, in "TBOBW," Part 1, the Enterprise manages to stay with the Borg ship for several hours. And in this episode, even after Locutus claims the Borg ship is proceeding without further delay to Earth, the Enterprise actually catches up to the Borg ship. If the Borg ship has a superior power source, why aren't they using it and leaving the Enterprise behind?
- Someone reworked the layout and look of the battle bridge. The last time the series showed the battle bridge was during "Arsenal Of Freedom." This battle bridge is a great improvement.
- This episode contains a very interesting scene concerning communications on the Enterprise. At the end of the episode, Riker sends an away team to the "sleeping" Borg ship. While walking through the halls of the Enterprise, Riker discusses the Borg ship with the away team. Shelby asks Riker if they should stop the Borg's autodestruct sequence. Riker turns the corner and doors pop open. He walks into the room with Picard, and both Dr. Crusher and Data give their opinions on Shelby's question! Since Shelby asked the question while Riker was in the hall, were Data and Crusher eavesdropping on Riker's conversation? Yet, moments earlier, Riker gave orders to ram the Borg ship - just seconds after talking to Data, Crusher, and Troi. Evidently they didn't hear Riker's intention to destroy the Enterprise, because they calmly discuss the meaning of Picard's "sleep" instruction. If they did hear the order, Data simply would have implemented Picard's instruction instead of discussing it. If some protocol exists for establishing open communications among all bridge officers during a crisis, wouldn't it be more reasonable for that protocol to be in effect during the Borg attack than afterward?
- From JRPoole on 2008-04-28 at 5:35pm:
Outstanding. This is definitely the best espisode up to this point, and there's not much to complain about here. I only wish we got to see more of Shelby in the future; what a great character she was.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-02-23 at 2:46pm:
Myself and my wife enjoyed this episode and the first part immensely. I liked the scene with Guinan telling Riker he must forget Picard and then Riker's follow up when he takes forceful command of the ship and executes his plan. Data had another great episode and his joining with Picard was inspired. I was wondering how they would resolve having the Federation win this one and thought this method of taking over control of the Borg was totally feasible without being hokey or just pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Very logical plot to carry the story. While I am the big scifi fan in the house this episode and most of the others has my wife enjoying the show as much or more than me. When the show was on the air family duties and work prevented us from watching it but now being able to enjoy it at our leisure on DVD is great.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-02-24 at 4:52pm:
Addendum to my earlier comment today:
I also found the ending so perfect. I don't know where or when but I have seen a painting/picture of the boy under the tree gazing at the night sky. It may have been something to do with Isaac Newton but whatever that scene was iconic and perfect.
- Alexander's age is a problem. Depending on how you look at it, this episode gives the connotation that the boy is either too young or too old. Most people believe that he was conceived when Worf and K'Ehleyr were together in TNG: The Emissary. But if that were true, Alexander would be no more than two years old!
- If Worf transported without his communicator, how could the computer record that it was him who transported? Perhaps by pattern records?
- This is the first episode in which we see a Vor'cha class Klingon ship.
- It is stated in this episode that K'mpec has ruled the Klingon Empire as chancellor longer than anyone in history.
- The sight of the Vor'cha class attack cruiser. A beautiful new ship. Love the closeups.
- Worf: "Captain, I must request permission to send another officer." Picard: "May I know your reason?" Worf: "My dishonor among Klingons may offend Ambassador K'Ehleyr." Picard: "Lieutenant, you are a member of this crew and you will not go into hiding whenever a Klingon vessel uncloaks." Worf: "I withdraw my request, sir."
- K'Ehleyr, to Worf: "Not even a bite on the cheek for old times sake?" Worf: "Perhaps you are not aware of my dishonor. I have accepted discommendation." K'Ehleyr: "I've heard. So now what, do I have to perform some ridiculous ritual to talk to you?"
- I love K'mpec's faith in Picard's ability as a mediator.
- I also love how K'mpec continues to drink the poisonous wine with dignity even though he knows it will just kill him faster.
- K'Ehleyr pressing Worf for answers regarding his discommendation.
- Gowron's first scene. I love that man's eyes!
- Worf restraining himself from taking the oath with K'Ehleyr out of fear for Alexander, even though he really wanted to.
- Gowron bribing K'Ehleyr. Though just about every scene with Gowron was remarkable. God I love that character.
- K'Ehleyr digging through the records to discover the truth about Worf's discommendation.
- Duras' aide's simple but effective method of distracting the guard...
- Duras confronting K'Ehleyr.
- K'Ehleyr uncovering Duras' plot.
- Beverly simultaneously and independently uncovering duras' plot.
- K'Ehleyr's death.
- Worf throws his communicator on his table and it falls to the ground...
- Worf's fight with Duras.
- Worf killing Duras. I was so surprised nobody stopped him!
This episode is very much about life and death. Two K'mpec, K'Ehleyr, and Duras all die, and Alexander and Gowron are introduced, both of which are characters we're sure to see again. It's interesting to watch how Worf's discommendation initially keeps him out of the loop on Klingon matters but slowly his integral connection to these people leads him to a direct conflict. The scene where Word murders Duras is easily one of the most powerful scenes TNG has shown us so far and well earned. An absolutely fantastic episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-07 at 3:06am:
During one tender moment between Worf and K'Ehleyr, she places her hands on his chest. In fact, she lays her hand directly over his communicator. Of course, it doesn't chirp. It must have a "loving embrace sensor" to know when not to turn on ;)
- From JRPoole on 2008-05-02 at 2:05pm:
Another factoid established by this episode: there are representatives of 13 planets among the Enterprise crew.
This is fantastic, definitely a candidate for my 'best of TNG' award. I especially like Picard's reaction to Worf going AWOL and killing Duras. This is possibly the best-rendered episode of Klingon intrigue, and there's not much to dislike here. Gowron eats the scenery every time he's on screen, Duras finally gets his due, the Romulan involvement in the Klingon power struggle gets teased out, K'mpec dies a death worthy of Shakespeare, and everything comes together nicely.
- From JRPoole on 2008-05-06 at 5:14pm:
Something I just thought about. As I pointed out in my mini-review, this episode maintains that there are 13 planets represented on the Enterprise crew. This number seems a little small:
Earth (multiple examples)
Bolia (I guess this is the name of the Bolians', as evidenced by Mot the barber's, homeworld)
Vulcan (several Vulcans can be seen as crew members in the backgrounds of prior episodes)
This is six already, nearly halfway there, and doesn't even count Data, who's from a colony planet, and the various obviously alien extras who've appeared in the background (the lady getting her hair done in the background of the barbershop scene in "Data's Day," etc.
Okay, I've officially descended into Trek geek-dom by even thinking about this...
- From MarkMcC on 2008-12-25 at 11:44am:
I've been rewatching this show recently and this is definitely one of the strongest episodes so far. My only minor gripe is with the lacklustre performance of the Enterprise security staff again.
Ambassador K'Ehleyr is playing a pivotal role in the mediations where one of the two sides has already poisoned K'mpect and set off a bomb, and has been directly threatened by Gowron. You'd think after all that, security might at least post someone at her door in case of emergency.
And let's not even talk about the security officer's Keystone Cops-style chasing after Duras' associate. Would a trained Starfleet officer really fall for such an old ploy?
Then again, if security ever did their job properly there would be a lot less drama (and stolen shuttlecrafts) in this great series.
- From John on 2010-12-30 at 5:24am:
Another "remarkable scene", in my opinion: at the end, when Alexander asks Worf "are you my father?" It's a nice reminder to us that Alexander has been pretty much ignored through all of this, even though it affects his life as much as, if not more than, anybody else's.
I've always liked Alexander. I know some people hate him or find him annoying, but I sympathize with him. It's not easy to see your mother die a bloody death, and then find out your father is the biggest hardass in the galaxy.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-19 at 3:06pm:
Great episode. It could so easily have been done badly, but it was done well. I found K'Ehleyr very interesting to watch.
- From CAlexander on 2011-03-20 at 12:05am:
One point I that was confusing to me was the bomb plot. They never described exactly how the plot was supposed to work and why it failed. It came across as though Duras randomly set off a Romulan bomb because, hey, he's an evil traitor, that's what evil traitors do.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-21 at 2:17pm:
Another excellent use of the "onesie", the tight, form fitting one piece outfit favored by Star Trek for young, attractive women, in this case K'Ehleyr, who did not disappoint in this area. See my comment on the previous episode.
- From Axel on 2015-02-28 at 5:18am:
JRPoole, I'll join you in geek-dom, years after your post.
The Federation has a lot of planets and races, but how involved all of them are with Starfleet is unclear. Tellar and Andor are founding members of the Federation and we rarely see them as crew on any ship in most ST series. I think 13 is a reasonable number for the Starfleet flagship. It also stands to reason that humans dominate Starfleet if for no other reason than Earth is where the HQ is at, and therefore probably the main recruiting grounds.
Descending even further into geek-dom, it's been implied that races like Vulcans and Andorians don't reproduce nearly as quickly as humans. Vulcans enter their cycle every seven years, Andorians need four parents, etc. This may also be why Earth and human-colonized planets dominate the overall Federation population.
The simple, real-world reason why humans dominate Starfleet is that makeup and costumes inevitably consume budget money, but I still think that 13 is about right if you consider how many humans are on the Enterprise.
- 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.
- When Vash tripped all over her dress, that wasn't actually scripted. She messed up the scene, but they left it in because they thought it was true to Vash's character; that she wouldn't know how to wear such a garment.
- Beverly barging in on Vash and Picard.
- Picard, not wanting to divulge his personal relationship with Beverly to Vash in his introduction: "Uh, that's all right, uh, allow me to introduce you. This is uh Beverly. Doctor Beverly. Doctor, Doctor Beverly Crusher."
- Picard getting all tense in the company of Beverly and Vash.
- Riker hitting on Vash.
- Riker: "How was the reception?" Picard with a dismal tone, not looking at Riker, and not slowing down in his pace to his ready room: "Splendid."
- Q's appearance.
- Picard: "I've just been paid a visit by Q." Riker: "Q? Any idea what he's up to?" Picard: "He wants to do something nice for me." Riker: "I'll alert the crew."
- Picard trying to avoid being seen going to Vash's quarters.
- Picard's crew in the audience slowly changing into Robin Hood characters. I especially like when Data goes to raise his hand and finds he is holding a giant leg of meat.
- Worf: "Sir, I protest! I am not a merry man!"
- Vash's reaction to being transported into the Robin Hood fantasy.
- Worf smashing Geordi's guitar.
- The sword fight.
- Vash deciding to go with Q to see the universe.
An episode with absolutely incredible continuity. Firstly, this episode picks up on the events from TNG: Captain's Holiday, with Vash's character returning. It also picks up on TNG: Déjà Q regarding the favor Q owes Picard. Finally, it will later run into DS9: Q-Less which will pick up on the adventures Q and Vash have together. That said, it functions wonderfully as a stand alone episode as well. It has action, adventure, humor, and it holds the interest. Truly one of TNG's most memorable episodes.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Whoa Nellie on 2007-04-15 at 6:56pm:
This episode is a perfect 10! If you're going to have someone who is not a Trek fan or even a sci-fi fan watch an episode of TNG, this is the episode to have them watch. Like the TOS's 'Trouble with Tribbles,' Qpid is pure, unmitigated fun! Patrick Stewart's Picard doing Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, you just have to love that! Picard and Vash have a very compelling 'battle of wills' dynamic to their romantic relationship. The combination of Picard/Vash and Q is unbeatable. Star Trek at its character driven best!
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-26 at 8:15am:
- When Q barges into Vash's room and discovers a rescue note to Riker, Q calls for the guards. The guards rush in, grab Vash, and march her out of the room. She's already in a cell in the tower. Just where are they taking her?
- When Q returns the crew to the Enterprise, Picard immediately notices that Vash is missing. Picard taps his communicator and asks the computer to locate Vash. The computer replies that Vash is not on board the Enterprise. I thought the computer used the communicators to locate people. Vash doesn't have a communicator. So how does the computer know Vash isn't on board?
- From Dio on 2009-01-02 at 9:35pm:
I had to rate this episode 10. Vash is a great character, representing both romance and adventure, so she automatically gives this episode 5 points. Q is always fantastic and adds another 2. The last 3 come from the humor, production and continuity.
I wish Vash had made one more appearance in TNG. maybe this could have been a 2 parter with the second episode focusing more on Picard and Vash before Q whisks her away...
- From John on 2010-12-31 at 4:49pm:
Worf saying "Nice legs. For a human." -- priceless.
- From CAlexander on 2011-05-27 at 12:45am:
This episode feels aimless. Q pops in and argues with Picard, then puts him in some random situation for no apparent reason, then they act out part of an old movie. I did, however, like some of the funny bits, like Picard being embarrassed by Vash and Worf's reaction to becoming a merry man.
- It is cool that Vash tries to use guile to manipulate the imaginary characters, which puzzles Q since he knows, as do we, that the Enterprise crew would be too principled for such a thing.
- From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-18 at 5:35am:
Pointless, boring, cheesy episode with a few laughs scattered about. The only bad episode of TNG starring Q. This one gets a big fat ZERO from me. Vash is the worst TNG guest star. Even worse than the traveler, that creepy interdimensional space-pedo.
- From Axel on 2015-03-17 at 10:57pm:
Either Q endowed Picard's team with special swordfighting skills for the purpose of this fantasy, or fencing is apparently a top past time for most of the senior officers :) I could see Picard himself learning to fence, and obviously Worf has a natural weapon proficiency. But LaForge? How the hell did he so good with a blade?
Anyway, this is a pretty amusing episode. It was good to see Vash again as she is the perfect woman to trip up Picard a bit. There are a lot of scenes I also enjoyed in this one, aside from the ones listed by the OP. For some reason, the scene where Riker is fighting one of the soldiers while Q is munching on a piece of chicken really cracked me up.
- Michelle Forbes, who plays Dara in this episode, goes on to play the Bajoran Ro Laren.
- Troi: "Counselor Deanna Troi personal log stardate 44805.3: My mother is on board."
- Picard carefully trying to avoid Lwaxana but utterly failing at it.
- Lwaxana's armorous advances on Timicin.
- Lwaxana calling Troi "Mr. Wolf" and Worf working hard to restrain himself.
- Timicin regarding Lwaxana as "vibrant". Yes, I'll agree to that.
- The Enterprise accidentally blowing up a star.
- The revelation that Timicin will soon die.
- Lwaxana's initial outrage to Picard about Timicin's ritual suicide obligations.
- Lwaxana's outburst in the transporter room.
- O'Brien "gracefully" exiting and locking out the transporter just before he left.
- Lwaxana debating the morality of the ritual suicide with Timicin.
- Timicin realizing Lwaxana is right and asking for asylum.
- Timicin, Dara, and Lwaxana meeting each other.
- Lwaxana in doubt of her strong moral convictions against the ritual suicide.
- Lwaxana joining Timicin to observe his resolution.
Lwaxana's character, for once, didn't annoy me in the slightest. In fact, she stole the show. Her speeches on the morality of euthanasia were extraordinary and invoke powerful emotions. Furthermore, Timicin and Lwaxana had excellent chemistry while together. So what's right here? Is it right to prolong old people's lives even when they become invalids and become nothing but a drain on society? Is it right to purge such people? I'm not qualified to answer such a question, but this episode explores it well.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-05-07 at 5:06pm:
Half a Life takes the euthenasia issue and stuffs it into a Lwaxana Troi episode. While it is nice to see a more rounded characterization of Lwaxana, I was not moved by the many heavy conversations between her and Timicin, or between her and her daughter. This emotional disconnection is coupled with a bit of bad science. How can you alter a massive star with photon torpedos? The Enterprise has almost become a Death Star, able to wipe out whole systems with a push of a button. While I find the moral issues intriguing, I just wanted more out of this episode.
- From Frogshortening on 2006-08-25 at 10:24pm:
I loved the way they pu the serious issue in with Lwaxanne- showed that she really did take some things seriously... and the contrast between her normal self and the one who was upset about Timicin's decision made it all the more dramatic! They WERE very moving scenes! (so there)!
- From DSOmo on 2007-08-29 at 12:01am:
- When Timicin first beams aboard, Picard immediately sticks out his hand to greet him. This action confuses Timicin, and then he comments that he has heard humans shake hands to greet each other. For a man as well versed in diplomacy as Picard, this seems very out of character for him. Timicin comes from an isolationist planet. Why make him feel immediately uncomfortable by forcing him to participate in a human ritual? Prior to this episode, Picard initiates a handshake only one other time, and that was only in respond to a physical greeting from the other party ("Final Mission")
- In this episode, Lwaxana orders Oskoid from the food replicator. When Timicin asks what it is, Lwaxana says it is a Betazed delicacy. But during the picnic in "Menage a Troi," Lwaxana offers Riker an Oskoid leaf and he acts like he's never had one before. Riker offers it to Troi, as if she'd never had one before. If Oskoid leaves are a Betazed delicacy, why do Riker and Troi act like they'd never eaten them before? Troi grew up on Betazed, and Riker was stationed there for several years.
- When Timicin and Lwaxana transport to the planet they are holding hands. Their hands are outside the confinement beam but they manage to transport OK (see "Sarek")
- After Timicin asks for asylum, Lwaxana and Troi have a talk. The scene opens with a shot of Lwaxana leaning against a mirror. As she walks away, the pole from the boom mic can be seen in the mirror. When the scene changes and follows Lwaxana walking across the room, the boom mic shadow can be seen moving across the wall.
- From djb on 2008-03-13 at 7:17am:
This was a valuable episode in many ways.
As others pointed out, I liked how Lwaxana's character was a bit more fleshed out in this episode. Usually she's just obnoxious and insufferable, but here we get to see something really, truly bother her, and see her go through some intense emotions. Much better.
At first I thought it strange that Lwaxana would become so romantically attracted to a man (an alien, at that) at first sight, but I then remember that she's a telepath, an especially talented one at that, who can basically "read" the gestalt of a person in the first few moments of knowing them. What takes us humans months or years to find out takes her minutes instead. Makes you think about what Betazoid culture must be like, with basically no one able to lie to each other...
I like how this episode brings up the issue of moral relativism. Normally I'm not a moral relativist; I think that there are some standard rights we can uphold for all of humanity. But what about when other sapient species come into play? The "Resolution" concept sounds to us like euthanasia taken to an unacceptable extreme, but I actually tend to agree with Timicin's daughter when she basically tells Lwaxana she has no place to judge their people's practices. Even though it sounds abhorrent to us, we're talking about a different species, planet, culture, psychology, history; enough to determine that we have no moral jurisdiction. Plus, it sets a bad precedent: species intervening on other species' practices they find offensive can lead down a totalitarian path pretty fast.
So much of Star Trek is based upon speculation. We really have no idea what other species in this galaxy are going to be like. An episode devoted (partially)to one alien's personal dilemma makes me think about what fields of study will pop up once we start making contact with extra-terrestrial species. Basically take any field we have now and add the prefix "xeno," and you have a new field: Xenobiology, xenopsychology, xenosociology. Xenoethics. Xenotheology. Xenomusicology! The possibilities are endless...
Good point someone made about the star subplot... The idea that a starship can make a star go nova with just a few specially-modified photon torpedoes, in minutes, is ludicrous (at least they made the nova look semi-believable, unlike "Evolution." They still don't get that novas appear for weeks, even months). If not ludicrous, extremely scary. The power not to destroy planets a la Death Star, but to cause the devastation of an entire solar system! This system had no inhabitants, but what about systems that do? If life on any of the planets survived the radiation and solar debris, how long would life last without the primary power source? How would they react gravitationally to a white dwarf (which will be less massive than the original star)? If this kind of stellar apocalypse is possible, why didn't the Romulans send a few cloaked ships into sector 001 and just decapitate the federation as soon as it became a threat?
If anything I'd say that an unsuccessful result of this experiment would be no change in the star. I also think that if the experiment were successful, we wouldn't find out for months, even years. Remember we're talking about a body that's about 1 and a half sextillion (1.5x10^21) cubic meters in volume and about 2 nonillion kilograms (that's 2x10^30) in mass. Whatever effects our special little torpedoes might have is going to take quite some time in real life.
Anyway, bad sci-fi, but great character study, great themes. Also, David Ogden Stiers is such a good actor that even though I've seen him in M*A*S*H countless times, I didn't realize it was him until I looked him up! Great guest star performance. An 8.
- From JRPoole on 2008-06-26 at 4:43am:
I don't have much to add to the commentaries here. This is about as good as stand-along episodes get: interesting (if not very plausible) science, great guest actors, interesting themes, and finally a Lwaxana episode that doesn't annoy. I give it a 9. Did the Enterprise wait for Ms. Troi? Or is she staying here until she can hitch a ride back to Betazed?
- From John on 2010-12-31 at 8:36pm:
You have to love how good an actor David Ogden-Stiers is. He renders his part with a quiet dignity that perfectly fits the character. I can't think of anyone better suited for the role. Certainly one of the best guest-stars TNG has ever had.
- From MJ on 2011-01-05 at 7:12pm:
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.
- From Robert Koenn on 2011-03-17 at 1:50pm:
Some of the other comments are very pertinent. As far as the backup story about rejuvenating a star with photon torpedoes, that is technical bunk. Stars burn based on their internal hydrogen and other element components and the fusion induced by the mass and these components makeup. If this star had burned out of hydrogen a photon torpedo barrage is not going to make it spontaneously rejuvenate. This was only a device to allow for the fundamental plot line of euthanasia.
Now that part was quite interesting to watch and quite pertinent in many ways to our present conditions. While there is the prime directive to not get involved in other species culture, if there was a cultural decision years ago to go this course that is not a reason to consider changing a flawed decision. However that would have to be instigated in person by Timicin but with support of Lwaxana and/or others. I wanted that to start out of basic morality but felt in the end Timicin was only returning to accept his preordained fate rather than starting a fundamental examination of a flawed law. He should have become the catalyst but it was not in his psyche. The same is so true of so many things on our planet at present, women's rights, children's rights, etc. If one person does not start a movement or does but gets not support it is fundamentally unjust. But for no one to even try then the conditions will simply stay the same flawed way. I do enjoy these episodes that examine fundamental human rights.
- From Lee on 2012-04-25 at 4:27pm:
Since I don't care much for technical problems (as long as they aren't as severe as in VOY: Threshold of course), I could really enjoy this episode. It's also the chronologically first Lwaxana-episode I really like!
It not only has the typical TNG-themes, it's also very sad and the acting of the guest star was magnificent! And although the science of the episode is probably not the best, it has still some awesome visuals.
- 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.
- Q once said "Drink not with thine enemy" is a "rigid Klingon code". They appear to be doing that in great numbers in this episode.
- This episode marks the first appearance of a tachyon beam being used to detect cloaked ships.
- Kurn's trick causing a stellar flare to destroy his opponents.
- Riker accepting (temporary!) command of a ship!
- Data requesting command of a ship.
- Kurn celebrating the war.
- Data took command of a Nebula class starship. :)
- O'Brien as tactical officer! Woot!
- Gowron meeting the challenge to his authority and swiftly defeating it.
- I love how Guinan's race has something of a sixth sense, to see events across the timelines.
- Sela's story about what happened to the second Yar from TNG: Yesterday's Enterprise.
- The Duras sisters seducing Worf.
- Data (angrily?) yelling at his first officer.
- Data ignoring the Enterprise's orders.
- Data briefly revealing the Romulan fleet and forcing them to turn back.
- Data chastising himself for disobeying orders.
- Gowron giving the son of Duras' life to Worf and Worf sparing him.
While I found the prejudice against Data a little absurd, I enjoyed the explanation of why Sela more or less was Tasha. Connecting this episode with TNG: Yesterday's Enterprise is genius continuity. I love it. I also love hearing what happened to the second Yar from the alternate timeline. Finally, the way this episode ties Federation, Klingon, And Romulan politics together is just beautiful. An excellent showing.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-09-03 at 8:59pm:
- At the end of "Redemption," Worf was leaving to serve as weapons officer on Gowron's ship. Yet this episode opens with Worf serving under his brother Kurn on Kurn's ship. Did Worf get a demotion?
- Worf's brother claims that the bar is filled both with men loyal to Duras and those loyal to Gowron. At one point, men loyal to Duras attack Worf in the bar. They knock him unconscious and drag him out. Why doesn't anyone come to Worf's aid?
- Sela gives Picard an accurate recounting of the facts of "Yesterday's Enterprise." Specifically, she knows that her mother came from twenty-two years in the future. If the Romulans knew that Yar came from twenty-two years in the future, it is inconceivable that they would kill her. Yar was a tactical officer with in-depth knowledge of weapons systems. The Romulans had unlimited time to torture her until she cooperated. It makes no sense for them to throw away a resource like that just because she tried to escape.
- After the sisters of Duras fail to convince Worf to join their cause, Sela appears on a viewscreen and gives them new orders. Worf calmly looks at the screen before they lead him away. Is Worf still groggy from the beating in the bar? The viewscreen shows the face of a woman he called a friend - a woman he thought died years ago. His reaction should have been similar to Picard's: shock and amazement.
- Picard's entire plan for exposing Romulan involvement hinges on the successful detection of cloaked Romulan supply ships. The successful detection of the supply ships rests solely on the blockade using active tachyon beams. When the main computers on both the Enterprise and Sela's ship show the blockade, the graphics show lines connecting the Starfleet ships. If the Starfleet ships are using beams, they've got problems. The Romulans could detect the gaps and fly through them. To get the type of density they need, the Starfleet ships would have to be clustered very closely together. And if the ships are clutered that closely together, then the Romulans could simply fly around the blockade. Picard and the main computers on both the Enterprise and Sela's ship must be confused. The Starfleet ships must be sending out "waves" of tachyon emissions. This would fill in the gaps.
- At one point, O'Brien tells Picard, "The detection net is picking up activity from the Romulans ... fifteen cloaked ships spreading out along the border." O'Brien says this before the Romulans cross into Klingon space. If the blockade could only detect a cloaked ship when it crossed a "beam," how does O'Brien know that there are fifteen cloaked ships getting ready to cross?
- When Sela speaks with Picard, she asks why twenty-three Starfleet ships lie on the Romulan border. If there are twenty-three ships in the blockade, why do only seventeen show up on the viewscreens both on the Enterprise and Sela's ship?
- After the Romulans flood the border with tachyon emissions, Picard orders the ships to fall back. Data realizes that the Romulan ships might be detectable for a short time. He gets to work immediately, disobeying a direct order from Picard. Aside from the fact that everything in Data's programming supports his full compliance with orders from a superior officer - Data's disobedience is totally unnecessary. In the time that Data spends arguing with his first officer about Picard's orders, Data could simply say, "Data to Captain Picard. There may be another way to detect the Romulans. Stand by." Data's disobedience is simply a plot contrivance to add tension.
- Worf's resignation from Starfleet was a major component of the cliff-hanger of the finale for the fourth season. Then, just before this episode concludes, Worf turns to Picard and says, "Request permission to return to duty, sir." Picard says ok, and they leave together! That's it? That's all? A person can resign from Starfleet and all they have to do is say, "Oops, I've changed my mind," and everything's fine?
- From Bernard on 2008-05-26 at 12:09pm:
I have to say that after such a great buildup in the first part in terms of klingon political intrigue what we get in this concluding part is an episode that deals mostly with a romulan/federation confrontation and a rather out of place storyline for data. Surely we're all thinking 'lets see klingons!!' all the way through the other scenes. Judging by the average scoring others no doubt disagree with me.
Solid episode, but such a disappointment for me considering how well the first part sets things up.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-02 at 3:49pm:
Problem: During the battle among the three Klingon Warbirds (one of which is commanded by Kurn, Worf's brother), Worf announces that the aft shields are gone. Immediately afterwards, the ship takes several direct phaser hits on the aft section. It would have been totally destroyed without shields. However, the shots are clearly deflected off the Warbird's aft shields. Which is of course inconsistent with the statement Worf just made.
- 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
- 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.
- Antimatter is pretty nasty stuff to be letting young Wesley tinker with as if it were every day chemistry class chemicals.
- It makes sense that Worf would have the ability to fake out the Enterprise computer... but the Ferengi ship?
- Armin Shimmerman, who later plays Quark in DS9, plays plays Bractor in this episode.
- Kolrami had such wonderful arrogance.
- Worf and Riker discussing the wargame and Riker recruiting him.
- I love the strategema side plot.
- Picard: "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose."
- Picard: "And Data, will you leave your hesitation and self doubt here in your quarters?"
- Data over analyzing Riker.
- Picard fooled by the simulated Romulan ship.
- I love how Picard goes from being amused to serious in a split second. One second he is complimenting Worf for fooling their sensors again. The next second Picard is spouting desperate defensive orders because that the Ferengi ship wasn't a ghost.
- Data "busting up" Kolrami.
An action packed episode filled with effective dialog, great side plots, and a fun ending. Only the technical problem regarding Worf faking an incoming ship to the Ferengi stains the episode. Otherwise one of TNGs more memorable installments and I dare say would have been a worthy season finale. The episode after this one was entirely unnecessary...
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-02 at 12:55am:
When Wesley gets his experiment (the antimatter) out of its storage bin, he is very careful. Later, when he and Geordi place it in the warp engines, Geordi urges caution. Yet, when Wesley beams it over to the Hathaway, he beams it onto a small tabletop. Since the container is round, it rolls to a resting place (it is a nice effect). If this thing is so unstable, why beam it onto a tabletop and take the chance it will roll off?
- From JRPoole on 2008-02-20 at 3:50pm:
This is a solid episode, but not one of my favorites. Aside from Worf's perplexing ability to fake out the Ferengi sensors--why hasn't he been doing this all along to every body the Enterprise meets in battle?--there aren't many real problems. But something just isn't right here for me.
Maybe it's just my predisposition to turn up my nose at any Ferengi episode, but the Ferengi presence here seems rushed. I know they're driven by profit, but I don't really buy their willingness to potentially start a war over the Hathaway. Again, maybe that's just my anti-Ferengi bias. I've always thought them to be a silly, over-drawn, stereotypical species, and here is one of the worst offenses this side of their initial appearance.
I love the sub-plot with the Stratagema game. I find the finger-interface and the game display to be ridiculous, though.
- From KStrock on 2009-01-24 at 11:55pm:
Starfleet doesn't conduct military routine exercises? What about Section 31's activities? I find that hard to believe given the (fairly recent) wars with the Klingon Empire and the brutal war with the Romulans that lead to the establishment of the Neutral Zone.
Also, I find Picard and Riker's distaste for the whole exercise as "unnecessary for an officer's makeup" bit out of character. Both men surely would see value in having their crews trained for battle stress.
- From Yaspaa on 2010-05-07 at 10:42pm:
I wasn't keen on Pulaski at the time. On watching the episode now (after not watching an episode in 9ish years) she is, dare I say, a better more enjoyable character to watch. Both Pulaski and Crusher have the old hippocratical oath
caring tendencies. Pulaski is more abrasive however, making her more interesting, purely due to the friction her personality can generate.
- From THoyt on 2011-04-12 at 9:09pm:
The Ferengi attacked and gave Picard "10 of your minutes" to surrender the Hathaway. The Hathaway had no real weapons to speak of, and the crossover relays between the Enterprise's real weapons systems and simulation systems were "fused", rendering them unable to fight back against the Ferengi. How did they manage in 10 minutes to have 4 very real photon torpedos ready to fire at the Hathaway? And if indeed they were able to get weapons online, why not just fight the Ferengi and send them running?
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-18 at 2:39pm:
- I pretty much liked the plot about Riker getting his own command, picking the best crew, and cheating like heck to try to beat the Enterprise.
- I was guessing from the start that the battle would be broken up by a real enemy. Maybe because that was exactly the premise of an old scenario from Star Fleet Battles (a Star Trek wargame). I wonder if the writer of this episode read that scenario.
- The subplot with Data was sort of peculiar. Pulaski wants to bring Kolrami down a peg, and she assumes that since Data is a Deus Ex Machina who can do anything, he's bound to win. When Kolrami wins, she thinks the plot just isn't supposed to be written that way.
- It is remarkable about how petty everyone is towards Kolrami beating Data. Nobody is impressed by his incredible accomplishment. They just want to wipe that smirk off his face. When Data can't win, but manages to upset Kolrami, everyone cheers.
- As KStrock mentions, it is very hard to believe the comments about the crew not needing to practice war maneuvers because Starfleet is not a military organization. Of course it is! I'll assume that Picard was really just being diplomatic, what he really thought initially was that the specific test Kolrami planned, spending a great deal of time preparing for a brief, totally uneven matchup, was stupid and a waste of time.
- In response to THoyt: It was established in the first Ferengi appearance that they have starships equal in power to Federation starships. The Ferengi made what was effectively a sneak attack on the Enterprise, and the Enterprise shields "can't take another hit" and the weapons are scrambled. Presumably 10 minutes was enough to get a few torpedoes online, but not enough time to give the Enterprise a reasonable fighting chance against the Ferengi.
- I agree that Worf's ability to fake out the Ferengi was hard to believe, not a very satisfactory conclusion to the problem. But then again, those TNG Ferengi are so stupid, maybe they don't know how to read their own instrument panels properly.
- From g@g on 2012-03-03 at 2:10am:
Agree about the main technical problem.
Otherwise, plenty of good stuff in here. The strategist was a pretty neat and memorable guest character. Also, Warf has an especially great and useful role to play (again, just like in Emissary) and some good lines to go with it(Data: "That would be unfortunate." Warf: "*Very* unfortunate. We will be dead").
Data's little crisis of confidence subplot was great... I loved Picard's reaction to having to "handhold an android," and likewise Data's reaction to Picard. Also, it was great to see Pulaski finally come around a bit towards Data and "anthropomorphize" him like everyone else - what I really mean is show him some understanding, compassion even.
Besides the main tech. problem, my other questions would be:
1) Data's tactic of playing for a draw seems a bit obvious to have such devastating consequences on a grandmaster. But he's Data, so maybe it was the semi-obvious tactic combined with his mad processing powers.
2) Shouldn't the Ferengi's brazenly firing on the Enterprise have some kind of serious longterm consequences?
- Picard and Data on the holodeck. When Picard interrupts, the characters nearly attack him, so Data freezes the program. :)
- Romulan standoff at the beginning.
- The closeup of the Romulan scout ship at the beginning. Romulan architecture is so beautiful.
- The Romulan scout ship exploding beside Picard.
- The defector and Worf insulting each other.
- LaForge using figures of speech on Data, confusing him.
- Picard's tension regarding what to do with the defector.
- Data attempting to console the Romulan defector.
- Romulan warships decloaking and attacking the Enterprise.
- Klingon warships decloaking and outmatching the Romulans.
An exciting Romulan episode. Lots of what Picard called "chess moves". In the end I really felt sorry for the defecting admiral. I enjoyed his final act, a letter to his family. That letter symbolized his belief that one day there would be peace with the Romulan Empire and the Federation. He risked his life hoping to preserve peace and thus his people. Even though he didn't fully trust the Federation at first, he still defected. A solid TNG episode.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-22 at 2:22pm:
The defector orders a glass of water from the food dispenser. He specifies "twelve ahgians." The computer replies that it is calibrated for the Celsius metric system. The Enterprise plays host to hundreds of races. What happened to the Universal Translator?
- From JRPoole on 2008-04-06 at 9:31pm:
This is, in my opinion, one of the finest episodes to this point in the series. The Romulans are a much more interesting, well-written and developed race than the Ferengi, and the episodes that focus on them are generally better as a result. The defector character is nuanced and well-acted, and his plight is endearing. My only quibble with this episode is the way the Klingon aid is handled. I realize that it was meant to build suspense, but the effect is rather cheap and the climax suffers a little as a result. Still, this is top-notch trek.
- From paidmailer on 2009-09-26 at 9:36pm:
Another great neutral zone episode. Two things I can add:
-In the beginning , the character on the right of Data is played by Patrick Stewart.
-Problem: Why did nobody search the romulan defector?
- From thaibites on 2010-12-20 at 12:39pm:
Finally, a good episode! This one has it all - action, intrigue, suspense, wits, Romulans. It shows what TNG was capable of doing, but up until this point, rarely delivered. I especially liked how the Klingon situation was handled. They throw you one little hint that makes you scratch your head and say, "Whatever..." And then it all falls into place at the end. I really enjoyed this one!
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-19 at 1:44am:
A superb episode. It really catches the tension involved in Jarok being a defector. And this episode shows the Romulans at their finest. I think the ending is well done.
- From EvanT on 2011-06-24 at 10:12pm:
I can see two explanations for this:
1) The computer really had no idea the Celsius equivalence of the anghian (lack of information about Romulan culture)
2)This signifies that the defector is all alone on an alien ship (he can't even have a glass of water) He's truly alienated (isn't this the same scene where he thoughtfully studies his suicide pill?)
- From Inga on 2012-01-15 at 4:06pm:
I really liked to see Klingon ships and the Enterprise lined up against the Romulans
- From Ggen on 2012-03-13 at 10:39pm:
A rather excellent episode revolving around an excellent guest character (the defector). Through him, we get an inside look into Romulan culture and sensibilities - which, at least in this case, prove to be more rational and sophisticated than previously depicted - and even a sneak peek at Romulus itself (or its holographic recreation). There is of course also the issue of loyalty and betrayal, and the odd matter of betraying out of one's personal interpretation of patriotism (planeterism?).
Lots of great lines strewn along the way, as the defecting Admiral has a rather lyrical bent.
Question: Riker suggests the defection is a ploy to draw the Federation into the neutral zone, and Picard finishes his sentence, "Then they will have a legitimate excuse to respond with force." *Why* would the Romulans need "an excuse?" In front of what interstellar authority? The implication, perhaps, is that Romulan internal affairs are quite a bit more complex and less monolithic, and their society less thoroughly militarized than it appears... (This, of course, is reinforced by the defecting Admiral's personal beliefs and actions.)
- From Matt N on 2013-06-01 at 3:32pm:
I loved the use of the Klingon music from the old Star Trek films when their ships appear.
- The opening scene where Q appears nude has an interesting story behind it. The production crew went to great lengths trying to make John DeLancie appear as though he was naked whilst preserving the essential clothing. But after some frustration, John just stripped nude and cleared the scene in one shot saving everybody some camera trouble and providing a good laugh.
- Q's appearance. John DeLancie is such a great actor.
- Q: "What must I do to convince you people!" Worf: "Die." Q: "Oh very clever Worf. Eat any good books lately?"
- Every moment of Q in this episode is great.
- Q describing sleep.
- Data to Q regarding his becoming human: "You have achieved in disgrace what I have always aspired to be."
- Q's solution to the asteroid. "Change the cosmological constant of the universe." Duh...
- Beverly and Q.
- Guinan and Q.
- Data mimicking the term "little trained minions" Q used to describe the crew.
- Q: "It's difficult to work in groups when you're omnipotent."
- Data saving Q's life.
- Q to Data: "If it means anything to you, you're a better human than I."
- The two Qs.
- Q's celebration in the end.
- Data laughing.
- Q in the end.
A race that doesn't looks exactly like humans! Yay! :) I love the show's initial dilemma. A decaying moon orbit on an alien planet and the Federation steps in to assist. This premise by itself is good, but the added appearance of Q makes it even better. Not only that, but a helpless and powerless Q adds new flavor. This is truly a recipe for what is indeed a great episode with a phenomenal ending.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Vlad on 2006-05-22 at 1:41pm:
If there was a voting pool for the funniest Star Trek episode ever, this should take first place! I laughed so hard my stomach hurt. Q minus his powers was more irritable than an Andorian and more fun than a Ferengi. And again, as it was the case with "The Survivors", we learn a little something about what makes us human with the help of a superbeing... as unlikely as that may seem.
Oh, and Corbin Bernsen's otrageous appearance as Q at the end was an added bonus. What an amazing actor he is!
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-23 at 5:26am:
- When Worf takes Q to the brig, Worf has to press a button on a panel beside the door before it opens. Later in the episode, Data simply walks through the doorway. Why the difference?
- When Q hurts his back in Engineering, Data taps his communicator and calls for a medical team. Note: He TAPS his communicator. If badge tapping is simply habitual, why is Data tapping his badge? He is an android. Data doesn't do things out of habit. Data always "does things by the book." If the book says that a badge tap is unnecessary, Data would not tap his badge.
- Dr Crusher fixes Q's back with a tool that looks exactly like a hypospray. But it doesn't make a hypospray sound. Maybe the hypospray is a mulipurpose machine. Then again, maybe the prop department didn't have time to make another medical device.
- From JRPoole on 2008-04-14 at 1:21pm:
This is one of the top 10 episodes of all time. Q is hilarious, the writing is crisp, the Calamarain are interesting, Guinan's response to Q is great, as is Picard's, and this is all-around top-notch.
- From CAlexander on 2011-04-20 at 11:55pm:
There were definitely a few jokes I liked, but in general I found Q's complaints about humanity tiresome and overly exaggerated.
- From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-21 at 9:22am:
Sooooo, what about the Prime Directive? If the idea of the Prime Directive is to allow a sentient species's society to evolve naturally, wouldn't preventing natural catastrophe be exactly the type of interference to short circuit evolution? Indeed, this exact point is made in TNG: Pen Pals where there is a huge debate over saving a species whose planet is threatened by geological activity. Why no debate here? Perhaps the Enterprise folks have decided to Hell with either Prime Directive.
- From Ggen on 2012-03-16 at 7:57pm:
Solid episode. Another excellent Q edition. Love the premise of Q becoming human and stumbling through all the physiological and psychological pitfalls. And a nice little ironic reversal with Q suddenly helpless and at Picard's mercy.
The other story arc, with a Japanese-like alien race ( I think they were even played by Asian actors ), worrying about a moon-related Tsunami, was also nicely done. Same for the rather nondescript aliens seeking revenge on Q.
As one would expect in any good Q episode, this one is chock full of witticisms and clever lines. One of my favorites is Picard's "It's a perfectly good shuttlecraft." The Mariachi sequence at the end is ridiculously appropriate, though the final "Engage" cigar gag was just a little bit much.
- 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 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.
- The opening scene where Barclay's kicking everyone's ass.
- Wesley starting the "Broccoli" fad.
- Picard's resolve toward helping Barclay.
- Geordi being nice to Barclay after Picard's lecture.
- Barclay showing up "just about" online.
- Wesley overwhelming Barclay.
- Troi, the "Goddess of Empathy."
- Barlcay finding a lead on the mystery.
- Picard slipping up and calling Barclay "Broccoli" and Data trying, then aborting his attempt to make Picard feel better about it.
- Guinan: "The idea of fitting in just repels me."
- Guinan: "If I felt nobody wanted to be around me, I'd probably be late and nervous too."
- Geordi walking in on Barclay's holodeck fantasy.
- Barclay describing his anxiety.
- Barclay freaking out when first encountering the real Troi then bailing out the first chance he got.
- Riker, Geordi, and Troi walking in on Barclay's program.
- Geordi: "Commander, I don't think there's any regulation that--" Riker: "Well there ought to be."
- Riker meeting his double. Troi and Geordi finding it funny.
- Troi meeting her double. Riker and Geordi finding it funny.
- Barclay sleeping in fake Beverly's arms.
- The Enterprise hurtling toward its own doom. The engineering team trying to make sense of it.
- Barclay contributing to solving the mystery.
Meet Lt. Barclay. On the holodeck he's arrogant and confident. In the real world he's a nervous wreck. Beneath both personalities he's a genius just waiting for attention. The ending to this episode was highly satisfying. Barclay proves himself under pressure and breaks his holodiction. But saves one of this programs before erasing the rest. So we're left open for more holodiction Barclay episodes in the future...
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From DSOmo on 2007-07-29 at 1:26am:
- The engineers get contaminated because a seal on one of the medical containers is broken. The engineers contact the invidium as they carry the tissue sample from the transporter pad to an antigrav unit. Why are Geordi's top engineers carrying medical containers? Isn't that a job for the medical technicians?
- After the engineers load these precious medical samples on an antigrav unit, Geordi tells Barclay to fix the antigrav unit. Geordi says it has an intermittent problem. Is this a standard procedure on the Enterprise? Does Starfleet have a regulation, "Whenever you encounter a problem with a piece of equipment, put a lot of really important stuff on top of it and then get someone to fix it?"
- When Geordi faces the problem of the ship "flying apart," he calls his team of senior engineers together to solve the problem. This is a sound approach. If you have a staff of highly trained individuals, why not consult them? In previous shows, however, Geordi has always tackled the problems alone or with the help of a holographic representation.
- Barclay enjoys a holodeck-created Ten-Forward. He walks over to Troi and she says, "I feel your confidence, your arrogant resolve. It excites me." At this point the companel beeps and someone says, "Lieutenant Barclay report to Cargo Bay 5 now!" Barclay responds by telling Troi, "It'll have to wait till later, darling." He quickly adds, "Be right there." So what did the guy at the other end of the conversation hear? In response to his command that Barclay report to the cargo bay, did the man hear Barclay tell him in loving terms that it would have to wait until later?
- Geordi originally discovers Barclay's fantasies by strolling into the holodeck. Later, Riker, Geordi, and Troi do the same thing. They simply walk up to the panel, Riker punches a few buttons, and the door to the holodeck pops open. Shouldn't there be an etiquette involved with entering the holodeck? These holodecks function as recreational areas for the crew. Even Geordi admits that what people do on the holodeck is their business. Isn't it an invasion of a person's privacy to allow others to walk into that person's fantasy?
- Picard must have one of those screen savers that blanks the screen until some activity occurs. Just after he tells Geordi to make Barclay his "project," Riker and Geordi leave Picard's ready room. Picard reaches over and turns his display panel toward him and studies it - except the panel is blank before he turns it!
- From djb on 2008-04-04 at 9:47am:
I watched this episode over a month ago, and I JUST today got that the episode's title is a pun. Hollow = Holo --> Holodeck. Very clever.
- From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2009-06-07 at 4:16am:
What a refreshing episode! Barclay feels real; I sometimes have to look away from the TV when he is having his awkward interactions with the crew.
And who can forget the Goddess of Empathy?
- From thaibites on 2011-02-25 at 2:15pm:
This is a lame and unbelievable episode. Geordi says it all early in the episode when he wonders how a guy like Barclay makes it through Star Fleet Academy. The truth is he wouldn't. Which means he wouldn't serve in Star Fleet, and he would never serve on the flagship Enterprise. This whole episode was a fantasy from the beginning. It could never happen. Barclay's a loser and that's all.
- From CAlexander on 2011-05-01 at 6:19pm:
An excellent episode. It is totally effective at portraying Barclay's character.
- The characters wonder how he made it through Starfleet thus far, and this is never directly explained to the viewer. Presumably his intelligence offset his lack of confidence until he got on to the Enterprise, which, as the flagship of the Federation, was just a bit too stressful for him. Then he started spending too much time on the holodeck, reducing his performance, lowering his confidence further, encouraging even more holodeck abuse, until he is the nervous wreck that LaForge can't tolerate anymore. Quite realistic.
- Star Trek is full of characters who are psychologically flawed, but usually they are unbalanced in the arrogant, overconfident direction. This episode shows someone flawed in the opposite way.
- Echoing DSOmo, the scene with the antigrav unit bothered me too. It is really weird – "The antigrav unit isn't working correctly. These containers we've precariously stacked on the antigrav unit are extremely important. Activate the antigrav unit." The scene would have worked fine if it had just been executed a little bit differently.
- From Nicolas on 2011-08-07 at 2:41am:
It should be standard enough to do a background check on the parties involved in serious accidents, just in case. Doing so would have saved them some time.
- From TheRealProj on 2011-12-23 at 7:22am:
Ugh. Wicked gay episode. Another throwaway that belongs somewhere in season 1 or 2.
- From Ggen on 2012-03-28 at 11:42pm:
Another poignant and thoroughly excellent psychological episode, this one with a healthy dollop of humor on the side.
I'll touch on the lighter aspects first... the humor here is excellent. Some of the lines from Barclay's fantasies are perfect. I especially enjoyed Troi as the "goddess of empathy," and Troi as the seduced counselor. "I feel your arrogant resolve - and it excites me!" Hah, that's great, made even greater by the next line, "Please report to Cargo Bay 5." Not even 1 or 2, but *5* . Hah.
Beyond the humorous scenes, Picard's slip of the tongue among them, this was a brilliant depiction of, and commentary on, social anxiety. I love how you can absolutely see Barclay's effect on others, you can *see*( how tense he makes the people around them (equally brilliant was Guinan's acknowledgement that there's a bit of a feedback loop here, the more uncomfortable Barclay makes others, the more uncomfortable he gets, and so on). Barclay also just lays it out to Geordi, explains quite effectively what its like, "afraid of forgetting a name... not knowing what to do with your hands... the guy who ends up in the corner trying to look comfortable examining a potted plant." That's great.
I also appreciated how serious the whole thing became, first threatening to end Barclay's career, and later threatening to put the entire ship in jeopardy - though of course Barc came through in the end. Might as well mention that the technical problem (the contamination) and the technical solution were both pretty neat.
So, I thought this was thoroughly excellent. I've seen some of the other Barcley episodes, both TNG and Voy, and I believe this was the best one, possibly because it's the first. In later episodes, the actor playing him gets a bit too comfortable in the discomfort, if that makes any sense... the stuttering etc starts to seem more predictable, more rehearsed. Here the performance is entirely convincing... (I wonder if they didn't have him improv. some of those lines to get the desired effect...)
- From Arianwen on 2012-12-17 at 11:20pm:
thaibites - it is perfectly possible to succeed, and succeed spectacularly, while still having difficulty with your personal life. Social anxiety and academic /career excellence are not mutually exclusive.
- From Damien Bradley on 2015-05-14 at 8:33am:
A few thoughts...
- Did anyone else catch the reference to the "flux capacitor" during Barclay's fake counseling session? Awesome! Wesley called it a flow capacitor in the preceding scene, but Barclay said "flux" instead. :)
- I like what someone else said about Geordi having a team of engineers he heads up. I would have loved to see some recurring characters (Sonya Gomez?) that way. But why, oh why, do they all have to be dudes? And with exception of Geordi, white dudes? Come on!
- I loved the continuity with Booby Trap when Geordi mentions he "fell in love" on the holodeck. I wish there had been more offhand references to other episodes like this!
- How many holodecks are there and how do people reserve time on them? With a thousand crew members, it seems weird that one lieutenant seems to be able to use them whenever he wants. It seems holo time would be scarce and in high demand.
- It also seems there would already be strict regulations around simulating existing people, *especially* superior officers. Everyone seems so surprised as if no one has ever thought of creating a holodeck program where you can punch out your commander or ravish your counselor.
- It's kind of fun to see Troi lose her poise. We see it in The Loss as well. I'm surprised that she was surprised at her own representation, though. She would have certainly sensed Barclay's lust toward her, and expected it once she saw he was simulating crew members. Then again, Trek writers conveniently forget about her empathic abilities all the time, so no huge surprise.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.