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Star Trek TNG - Season 5 - Episode 05

Star Trek TNG - 5x05 - Disaster

Originally Aired: 1991-10-21

Troi acts as captain after the Enterprise is damaged. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.94

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 69 5 5 51 9 5 21 33 45 24 31

- Geordi says the cargo would be "sucked" out into space when they open the cargo bay doors. The correct term is "blown" out into space.
- The scene where they depressurize the cargo bay is a little absurd. Total decompression would have caused swift injuries that they don't seem to exhibit and isn't survivable for very long, whereas that scene seems to drag on for an uncomfortably long period of time. It's not like holding your breath under water. The lack of air isn't the main concern. The lack of pressure is the main concern. Maybe the ship has some method of maintaining the pressure on their bodies whilst depriving the air from the room? It's a stretch though.


Remarkable Scenes
- O'Brien and Keiko arguing over names.
- Beverly trying to convince Geordi to sing in her performance.
- The chaos that ensued when the Enterprise was hit by the quantum filament.
- Picard being stuck in a turbolift with three crying children...
- Troi taking command.
- Ro dumping phaser energy to power bridge terminals and O'Brien freaking out at her.
- Data suggesting that Riker remove Data's head and take it with him...
- O'Brien arguing with Ro about what to do.
- Troi standing up to Ro.
- Data's detached head guiding Riker.
- Worf to Keiko: "Congratulations, you are fully dilated to ten centimeters. You may now give birth."
- Worf to Keiko: "The computer simulation was not like this. That delivery was very orderly." Keiko: "Well I'm sorry!!"
- Worf delivering Keiko's baby.
- Troi insulting Riker's rank.

My Review
This episode is well conceived. I enjoy the way they wove Troi into the position of taking command. Two minor characters, O'Brien and Ro play important roles in the story, as well as Keiko. It was all very diverse and entertaining. It's also interesting to note that this episode takes place almost exactly nine months after TNG: Data's Day. It is logical why Keiko was having her baby now thusly. ;) A memorable and satisfying episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Rozenn on 2006-04-02 at 2:59pm:
    I can't for the life of me remember where I read this, but I think the tensile strength of the body is enough to keep the blood in the veins from boiling. So no exploding bodies...
  • From Pete on 2006-04-15 at 1:35am:
    I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Good acting by the kids, and Worf delivering a baby is priceless. However, I cannot tolerate Picard's overcoat. It's probably the single most annoying thing for me in the later seasons. Whenever I see it I get distracted and think about how much I hate it. I just don't understand why the directors feel like they have to change the uniforms up every year. I mean, the real Navy never EVER changes their uniforms. Starfleet changes them about every other year. It's extremely irritating, and Picard's overcoat is the worst. It makes him look extremely unprofessional. The only things I hate worse are the uniforms they wear in Nemesis.
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-05-08 at 8:27pm:
    This episode works because there are so many interesting, tiny plots. They are skillfully woven into each other. The cargo bay scene is a very creative idea by the writers, and it does not seem implausible. Also, Riker taking off Data's head is one innovative, and hilarious concept. The three kids are not typical of the kinds of kids you normally see on Trek. These three were off the wall, and entertaining, except for the crying.

    It would have been great to know what the final death toll was, since it can be assumed that people died all around the ship. Engineering was vacant. Where did everyone go? Either way, this episode deserves an 8.
  • From Bob Bracegirdle on 2006-07-14 at 9:20am:
    Decompression scene is ridiculous. Quite apart from the best policy being to totally EXHALE so there is no air in the lungs, the "holding" on to a frame would be impossible in an explosive decompression - you would be blown out with the cargo. You would have to tie yourself to such a frame.

    Incidentally why is the recompression button so far from the decompression one?
  • From DSOmo on 2007-09-06 at 1:36am:
    - Troi asks what a containment breach is! At the beginning of "Contagion," the Yamato explodes when matter and antimatter mix uncontrollably. Troi is on the bridge at the time. Later, in the observation lounge, Geordi explains in great detail about the magnetic seals dropping and the catastrophic consequences of unregulated combination of matter and antimatter. Troi is also at that meeting. Why doesn't Troi know what will happen if the antimatter containment field goes down? How did she get a rank of lieutenant commander without learning about warp engines? No one expects her to be able to field-strip a warp coil, but antimatter containment seems pretty basic.
    - When Picard and the children finally find a turbolift door they can open, Picard's waist is level with the deck floor. Picard heaves the top half of his body onto the floor and then yanks and pulls himself the rest of the way. Why is Picard going through all these gymnastics? The ladder goes all the way up the turbolift shaft, with the doors for each deck to his right. Why not just hop up a few more rungs with his right foot and then step off when his right foot is level with the floor?
    - While Geordi tries to open the door manually, Crusher places her hand against a wall. She then tells Geordi the wall is hot, and Geordi says, "Where?" Where? Geordi can examine things thermally. He should be able to look at the wall and see the heat.
  • From Fred on 2008-01-10 at 11:53am:
    For anyone interested, a search on Google, and a wade through many less than useful posts like 'you suffocate and explode', it turns out that Dr Crusher and Geordie's experience was reasonably accurate... except neither of them lost control of their bowels.

    In short, they would have survived, and Dr Crusher's summary of what would happen is largely accurate, according to research performed by NASA in the 60s. Our bodies would mostly hold us together, but the expansion of fluids and gases would be what kills you, starting from the outside working in.

    One other interesting thing I read, was that if you model the human body as a black blob, it would take several hours for it to loose enough heat to freeze.

    For more info, these site's give some good info:
  • From djb on 2008-03-23 at 7:03pm:
    I used to watch this show when it was running, though it started when I was only 6. Many of them, though, I have no recollection of having watched before. This one I do remember. The main scenes I remembered were Picard with the kids in the turbolift, and LaForge and Crusher in the shuttlebay. It was a pleasure to see it again. As a funny little aside, I recognized one of the kids-- I used to go to school with him.

    I wonder, if the results of hitting a quantum filament are so potentially severe, why a starship is so susceptible to them. Even if the likeliness of hitting one is low, you'd think there would be some kind of special protection against them, or increased ability to sense them. Since we don't hear from quantum filaments again, this falls into the AOTW category, except this time that stands for "Anomaly of the Week" instead of "Alien of the Week." The premise could have been better.

    Seeing counselor Troi completely bewildered at the prospect of commanding the bridge is good for character development, but rather unrealistic. She's an officer, meaning she's been through four years of starfleet training. She holds the rank of Liutenant Commander, meaning she's supposedly quite capable. Wouldn't starfleet training and rank-advancement tests prepare one for this kind of situation? I will say, though, that I like how she gradually transcends the sense of being in over her head (it really doesn't become her) and takes to command quite decently. She's able to put Ro, quite a forceful personality, in her place, without being forceful back. This is a good example of Troi's "gentle-but-firm" personality.

    An interesting thing to note here is how she is always wearing off-duty attire even while on duty, which helps lend an informal air to her in general. That is usually good, except in situations like this, where I suspect that she would have taken to command more easily if she were wearing her uniform. I certainly wouldn't want to take command of the ship in my sweatpants!

    My two cents on the suttlebay decompression scene: I think it was slightly unrealistic, but not overly so. I doubt that the shuttlebay was 100% decompressed: while the majority of the air would have escaped immediately, I think enough would have lingered after the forcefield was re-activated to allow someone to live for a few more seconds. A total vacuum would have killed them pretty quickly. I think, though, that both LaForge and Crusher would have been severely bruised. What I don't understand is why the atmospheric controls weren't on the same console as the forcefield controls! Aren't these ships designed with tons of redundancy for this exact type of situation? Also, the main problem I had was how quickly the air was returned to normal compression. It should have taken at least a minute, and both of them should have fallen unconscious.

    Despite all that, I like this episode a lot. I like the isolated subplots, and I like the interaction of the sub-groups of the main cast. I liked the birth scene, with the normally mild-mannered Keiko yelling at Worf. I liked seeing O'Brien on the bridge (again). I loved seeing the turboshaft; it definitely helps one to grasp how big the ship is. I also like how Picard is forced to learn how to deal with the kids he's stuck with.
  • From Matt on 2008-04-24 at 8:49am:
    No, they wouldn't "explode". Humans do not explode when in space :-)

    Dr Crusher had it about right - the capilaries on the surface of the skin could burst and there'd be some bruising... but no humans exploding :-)
  • From JRPoole on 2008-07-16 at 12:17pm:
    This episode is a personal favorite. The Worf/Keiko interaction is great, and all the subplots--especially the Ro/Troi tension are handled very well. Like someone above, it also annoys me that there's never a mention of the death toll, but that's pretty minor. Good stuff all around.
  • From paul on 2010-07-12 at 7:29am:
    Technically, when you 'suck' in real life, you are creating a vacuum where your diaphragm was, so the air is blown into your lungs from the outside due to the pressure imbalance. So being sucked out into space is the same as being blown out
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-22 at 6:21am:
    One glaring issue: in whose dreams would Captain Picard ever consent to giving a bunch of children a tour of the ship? It does not accord with his character at all! He would have simply delegated the problem to someone like Troi.
  • From John on 2012-03-15 at 9:36am:
    @Jeff: Picard would do such a thing if he felt it was his duty. No doubt Troi managed to convince him that it was part of his responsibility as captain, the same way she convinced him to do "Captain Picard Day" later on in season 7 ("The Pegasus").

    That doesn't mean that he would enjoy it, just that he would force himself to do it and be a gentleman about it.
  • From Trekkie on 2012-07-07 at 1:49pm:
    Picard has never been one to care for and have children aboard his ship.I think this episode may have changed his output on that a bit.I liked this episode, yet it seemed a little rushed.44 minutes is not always enough time to fit all the details of the episode in.It should be more like 50, like TOS(51min)
  • From ChristopherA on 2019-04-30 at 1:44am:
    I really liked the feel of this episode, it really felt like some terrible disaster had struck the ship. I liked how Troi was a little out of her depth, but still able to function. And although I cried "Don't do it" when I saw the cliche of Keiko giving birth coming on, the scene was actually handled pretty well.

    There was some extra heavy suspension of disbelief required, however. I don't really believe the ship would completely lose communication (the comm badges are routinely used independent of the ship) but it was necessary for the plot. The fact that engineering was empty was very strange, I totally thought it would make more sense for Data and Riker to rally the trapped engineering staff and save the ship, rather than doing it all by themselves.
  • From rpeh on 2021-07-25 at 6:39pm:
    Watching this again, the most remarkable thing is that despite ship-wide power outages, the artificial gravity and lighting work perfectly throughout.

    It's an underrated episode. There are a few scientific problems, and the acting of the three kids at the start is awful. But apart from that there are some strong performances and it maintains the tension right up to the end. And then the comic moment.

    I like this one. It's not important enough for a 9 but I'll give it an 8.
  • From Ensign Obummer on 2021-08-06 at 12:49pm:
    Is it just me or did the O'Brien baby turn from a boy into a girl? I'm sure they only discussed male names last episode it was mentioned?

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