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Star Trek TNG - Season 5 - Episode 06

Star Trek TNG - 5x06 - The Game

Originally Aired: 1991-10-28

Wesley returns to find the crew addicted to a game. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.13

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# Votes: 57 16 29 9 14 18 20 35 17 13 13


- Boothby's second mentioning, by Wesley.

Remarkable Scenes
- Wesley and Data discussing the acadamy.
- Data mentioning Beverly's dancing skills. A connection with TNG: Data's Day.
- Geordi: "Tell'm to flip a coin!" Data: "A coin. Very good. I will replicate one immediately."
- Wesley mentioning Boothby.
- Beverly pushing the game on Wesley.
- Wesley and Lefler tinkering with the game trying to figure out how it works.
- Wesley in the turbolift with an addict.
- Data unbrainwashing everyone.

My Review
This episode has a number of problems at the basic level. Firstly, we never see Lefler again. Second, if brainwashing people is this easy, why isn't it done all the time? Third, who the hell are the Ktarians and why do they want to take over Federation starships? Fortunately we get to learn a little bit more about the Ktarians later, mostly thanks to Voyager. But still, this episode seemed wholly random and without much purpose.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-04-15 at 11:10pm:
    This episode just plain sucks, and a 2 is way too generous. First of all, Wesley coming back from Starfleet academy to discover that his mother and everyone else he loves are basically heroin addicts is just ridiculously cruel. What a horrific welcome back episode. Secondly, the Lefler character is so charismatic, beautiful, and just damn likeable and they NEVER bring her back. She had the potential to be one of the best minor characters ever. Thanks Rick.

    Thirdly, the premise is stupid. A game is just sooo addictive that everyone on the whole enterprise is seduced by it. I can buy Riker getting addicted, and maybe even Picard (although probably not), but WORF??? No way in hell Worf would ever play the game. For the sake of justification, perhaps Picard ordered him to play it. Either way, it's just stupid beyond reason.

    Lastly, no one ever apologizes. Yes, I know that they weren't "themselves", but they seemed to remember what they did. Therefore, the idea that Wesley would leave without so much as an apology from anyone is completely absurd. Then again, this episode is completely absurd, and it pisses me off every time I watch it. The only thing saving it from a zero is that at least it doesn't break canon, and Lefler is a thoroughly enjoyable character.
  • From DSOmo on 2007-09-06 at 8:47am:
    - When Riker wants to introduce the game to Troi, he finds her in Ten-Forward. He finds her enjoying a bowl of chocolate ice cream. She proceeds to describe for him the ritual of eating chocolate. Isn't it a little late in the series for new expositional material between Troi and Riker? Riker acts like he's never seen Troi eat a bowl of chocolate ice cream before. She is doing it in Ten-Forward. Obviously this isn't a ritual she observes only in private. This is the fifth season, and Troi and Riker supposedly knew and dated each other before either joined the Enterprise. How could he never have seen this before?
    - Picard tells Riker that Wesley will arrive by shuttle. Yet when Wesley does arrive, he beams in from a science vessel.
    - When Robin tells Wesley he needs to calibrate the sensors manually, he balks. He then tells Robin that the computer must do it. Of course, she proves him wrong by marching over and demonstrating. Has Starfleet Academy ruined Wesley? This is the same guy who turned a tractor beam into a repulser beam in his head when everyone said it was impossible. This is also the guy who helped the engineers reroute power when an alien entity took over the ship. He did both of these things when merely a child, and now that he's in Starfleet Academy he doesn't know how to calibrate a sensor manually?
    - Does it strike anyone else as odd that Picard will play the game but Wesley won't?
    - When Crusher and Worf come looking for Wesley, they find Wesley and Robin on Wesley's bed, simulating the game-playing using mock-ups. Crusher and Worf leave satisfied. Wesley never puts the mock-up on again. Wouldn't it make more sense for him and Robin to continue to wear the game and fake the pleasure?
    - While Wesley prepares to elude the crew, he tells Robin that he programmed a site-to-site transport program. This all makes sense because it would allow Wesley to beam from anywhere to anywhere on the ship. In the actual beaming, Wesley beams from a hallway to a transporter pad! That's not site-to-site, that's normal transport. In fact, because Wesley uses normal transport, Geordi can locate him, telling Picard that Wesley ended up on deck 6.
  • From djb on 2008-03-26 at 7:43am:
    For some reason, this is one of my favorite episodes. Probably has something to do with childhood memories.

    The premise and ramifications of such a simple brainwashing device are a bit scary. I think they could have made it more believable with a few modifications. Also, it's good to see Wesley back for an ep, but sadly it's yet another installment in the "Wesley and/or Data save the day" vein, of which there have been far too many. Lefler is a great character (and Ashley Judd's looks certainly don't hurt), but it's a shame we don't see that character again. I guess we can add her to the long list of guest stars we'd love to see more of but we never hear from again, of which, there are, again, far too many. (Probably a budget thing.)

    That being said, this episode has a lot of good moments. Riker's face when he first gets a hit from the game is great. Wesley flirting with Robin is great, but then again, I'm a romantic. Seeing all the characters brainwashed is a freaky sight! People we know and love and trust week after week, all turned into evil zombies. Contrived, but fun. Watching our cute couple figure out what the "Game" really does, figuring out what's wrong with Data, and pretending to be brainwashed, is fun and entirely believable, given how brilliant both of them are. I also liked the chase scene. It reminded me of The Hunted from season 3.

    Data's coming on the bridge and snapping everyone out of it is a pretty badass moment. Even though Data saving the ship (yet again) is an old plot device, it is still believable, and fun to watch.

    One little nitpicky thing-- when Worf and Riker force Wesley's eyes open. He blinks, indicating they haven't really got his eyes forced open. That's a pretty difficult thing to do; you pretty much need a speculum if you want to do it without actually touching/hurting the person's eyes (as in "A Clockwork Orange"). But they could at least have used a take where he didn't blink.

    I'd have to agree with the problems in plot/execution that others have mentioned; taking all that into account I'd normally give it a 4, but tilt it up to 5 or 6 because... well, I liked it. Flawed in concept, but well-executed, and memorable.
  • From Rob UK on 2014-02-03 at 4:47am:
    Sad to say i am also a hater of this episode but no surprise here it is for completely unusual reasons.

    Firstly, the potential for drugs(or technology that alters the chemicals of the brain responsible for perception) that alter the mind in sci-fi is phenomenal (just look at farscape), it is totally wasted here with a lackluster effort, the crazy leaps that the viewer must make to understand how each character other than beardy Bill the sex fiend got tricked into playing long enough to get hooked, Bill was getting booty when he got hooked, be honest who hasn't been there in life more times than they care to remember, deviant sexual interest with a big bag of naughty that you promised yourself you were not going to have any of and definitely go to work monday morning?

    I think you could call that a sidetrack, anyway where was i?

    For me what made this episode the most painful was all the orgasms faces we had to endure as our crew 'score goals' in the game, Dr Krushers were particularly excruciating but i literally thanked the powers that be when we were spared Picard's 'jizzface' when he put the game on just after Wes tried to get a shipwide investigation going, just thank the heavens and the hells that he wasn't very good at it I say. Sadly i was not saved as i have a visceral imagination that has a mind of it's own and as the scene cuts away with Picard looking like he is gonna take a shit with concentration the minds eye continues the scene on until he gets his release, i apologise profusely to anyone reading this who also has a vivid imagination that can run away with itself visually and did with that imagery.
  • From Mike on 2016-10-27 at 7:39am:
    I was hoping that the ending of this episode would be Wesley waking up and realizing that this game business was just a horrifying nightmare, as it was for us, the fans. Only in a dream could the entire crew be reduced to worthless imbeciles while Wesley and a young Ashley Judd save the day.

    This is the first of two episodes (the other being "Rascals") in which the Enterprise is easily taken over by buffoonery. Not proud moments for the Federation flagship.
  • From Keefaz on 2017-01-08 at 12:31am:
    My girlfriend and I are watching through all the TNG on Netflix, and I think this is the first episode we really struggled to sit all the way through. 2 or 3 times we almost turned it off.

    It is so bad, and all the creepy close-ups and orgasm faces are painful to watch. The Troi ice-cream scene is especially eye-numbingly terrible. The only saving grace is the cute romance between Wes and Lefler, and you're really clutching at straws when that could be a highlight.
  • From ChristopherA on 2019-04-30 at 2:22pm:
    I noticed many of the issues others have complained about with this episode, but I liked it anyway. I thought Wesley and Robin were likeable, the possessed Enterprise crew were creepy, and the episode was exciting to watch. Not my favorite, it does have a lot of issues, but a fine average episode.
  • From jeffenator 98 on 2019-09-06 at 5:19pm:
    Law #103 All Wesley saves the ship episodes suck. 2/10
  • From Chuck the Canuck on 2023-05-12 at 5:38pm:
    "I'd like to know more about it before I try it," says Wesley. I guess aside from Lefler, none of the 1000+ other people aboard the ship thought of that.

    I think the biggest plot hole here is that Crusher and Riker call Geordi to look at Data before they get him addicted to the game. Wouldn't he have done the exact same thing Wesley does later in order to figure out what's wrong with Data? Wesley even says he's one of the experts on Data.

    The most entertaining parts of this episode are the looks and sounds people make as they play the game.

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