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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 07

Star Trek TNG - 2x07 - Unnatural Selection

Originally Aired: 1989-1-30

Pulaski suffers from a disease that induces rapid aging. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.44

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- The genetic engineering done on that planet is strictly forbidden by the Federation canonically as of TOS: Space Seed. We're forced to assume they had special permission.
- The transporter cure is a bit far fetched and plagued by meaningless technobabble.

- This is the first episode to mention O'Brien's name.

Remarkable Scenes
- The crew's horror toward what happened to the Lantree is nicely done.
- I like Riker's discreet commenting on Pulaski's hatred of the transporter.
- Data's little smile after Pulaski talks up his computer skills.
- Picard's interaction with Pulaski's former captain is fantastic.
- The destruction of the Lantree.

My Review
Truly Pulaski's episode, and she deserved one. She interacts so nicely with Picard, Data, and the rest of the cast. It's truly unfortunate though that the problems of this episode drag it down quite a bit. First, we must assume that they've been given special permission to do that genetic engineering, but my assumption doesn't make the problem go away. That stuff is illegal. Second, the way the disease is cured and the problem is solved is highly lame. We're given no acceptable solution. Despite the fact that I like O'Brien's character and I'm glad he got screen time, his lines are mostly nonsensical technobabble resulting in a largely unexplained cure. Moreover, in the tradition of TOS: The Deadly Years, the transporter is used not only for a miracle cure, but a miracle cure for aging! Once again, like in that episode, we must assume that the "aging effect" is not in fact "true" aging and thus the transporter cannot be used to cure "normal" aging. Despite all this, what the episode lacked in continuity and technicality, it made up for in performance and character interactions. If we needed any more evidence that Pulaski is McCoy 2.0, we just got it. ;)

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-22 at 6:31am:
    - When Pulaski decides to test her theory that the genetically perfect boy is harmless, she has Data pilot the shuttle. Why can't they pilot the shuttle by remote or have Data beam back to the Enterprise before they beam the boy over to the shuttle? That way, if something goes wrong, they will lose only one senior staff member, not two.
    - Because this cure with the transporters filtering Pulaski's DNA worked, everyone in the Federation can now remain eternally young. All they have to do is take a sample of their DNA when they are young. When a person approaches death, they can have the transporter redo their DNA. At this point, they should become young again.
    - When the Enterprise reaches the Lantree, Data reports that all systems seem functional. This seems reasonable. The problem with the Lantree wasn't the ship, it was the people. So why was the first transmission from the Lantree full of static and the voices garbled?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-23 at 2:54pm:
    I agree with your points. I especially liked the efficient way they investigated the Lantree disaster and the respectful sendoff at the end. But the technical flaws were really noticeable. The genetic engineering is a huge discontinuity with both Space Seed earlier and DS9 later, where it is made clear that even subtle forms of genetic engineering are illegal and heavy discouraged. In this episode they proudly announce that they are creating fast-growing superbeings with flying hunter-killer biological defenses, and the crew doesn't seem bothered in the slightest. Then there is the cure. Let me paraphrase the scene where Picard comes up with the cure:

    Picard: "Chief O'Brien, I just had an idea. Could we modify the transporter into a magical plot device that can modify the molecules in the target in any way we choose?"

    O'Brien: "Sure, Captain, but I'll have to make a few modifications."

    I'll imagine what must have happened after that scene:

    Data: "Fascinating that no one ever thought of that before. A 10 second conversation has resulted in a discovery that will have massive repercussions throughout the galaxy."

    Picard: "No, Mr. Data, I'm a modest man. Let's forget about my little invention and never use it again."
  • From Inga on 2011-12-29 at 11:59am:
    The planet, Gagarin IV, was named after Yuri Gagarin (???? ???????) - the first human in space
  • From One Moonie Pants on 2012-02-22 at 8:49am:
    Rename: In which Pulaski makes a complete ass of herself. Once again she is quite rude to Data and then complements him later. She is outright nasty to Picard. Many medical officers learn to pilot a shuttle craft, I can only guess that she never learned cause she thought that particular skill would never come in handy on a starship?! Where is Crusher, I dislike this lady very strongly.
    OK done ranting about Pulaski, the positive points of this episode were the introduction of O’Brian who is an excellent actor (unlike Pulaski). The techno babble in this ep. I think is just to show that this new guy knows his stuff and therefore is awesome and worthy of hundreds of hours of screen time in future. Up until now he was just some dude standing where so many others have stood before (like the good looking women who the "rouge" hits on in 2x4.
    I thought the transporter cure was very far fetched and brought up to many questions, it was too much like cloning an earlier version of her. If that were the case why did she retain memories from her time over on the station. Also if she is in some way a clone then this would solve the death of every crew member…… ever. Just make a new copy from a hair when they get really old, human aging problem solved...?
    Early in the ep. The computer takes control of the ship and shows view screen of the bridge, trick was pretty cool. I wonder how many times that could have been used to solve problems on other episodes? :)
    All around this ep was just, put up with annoying character that we have to live with this whole season. As well as intro of new awesome character. The plot of this one is pretty dull and the philosophical eye brow raising was nonexistent.
  • From idiotek on 2012-09-04 at 6:10am:
    I want to believe you're trolling with the Pulaski love-in, seeing as she's the worst recurring character out of any TV show ever (never mind the trek franchise). Don't think you are though. McCoy 2.0 is probably the biggest blasphemy you could have gone for. Picard facepalm.
  • From McCoy on 2017-11-13 at 8:24pm:
    Sorry, Idiotek. Pulaski is my favourite character from TNG:) What a shame she was only for one season. I'm serious, really.
    And this was nice episode with good interactions between her and Picard.
  • From jeffenator98 on 2019-10-02 at 5:04pm:
    They did use this technique before in TAS episode the Lorelei signal. I also like Pulaski.
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-15 at 6:56am:
    The treknobabble in this episode is just .... mwa! *chef's kiss*

    "Well, I'd have to get into the bio-filter bus and patch in a molecular matrix reader. That's no problem. But the waveform modulator will be overloaded without the regeneration limiter in the first stage circuit." ... Makes me wonder if the Trek writers read their own scripts sometimes.

    Amazing job that transporter did on Pulaski's makeup!

    I don't dislike Pulaski as much as I dislike Crusher's absence. Nice to see her learning to be a little less of a jerk to Data.

    Data emotion-spotting: he smiles a little bit when Pulaski says he has a way with computers. He's clearly programmed to crave human approval and display signs of vindication when he gets it.
  • From The USS Obamtry on 2023-04-23 at 4:13pm:
    Pulaski is great, she is more interesting, fun interactions with some of the crew, finally someone who rembers that Data is an android, and she was in TOS a few times!
    And to that guy who says she is a bad actress, ridiculous! Unlike for most of the usual trek cast, including the Crushers, she had a multifaceted acting career besides Trek.

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