Star Trek Reviews

Return to season list

Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 22

Star Trek TNG - 2x22 - Shades of Gray

Originally Aired: 1989-7-17

An alien organism invades Riker's brain. [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 1.03

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 231 53 13 11 8 2 4 2 4 4 9

- Riker "remembered" some things he wasn't actually there to see.

- This was an extremely low budget episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- The joking scene at the end when Riker is cured is neat.
- Some of the scenes in Riker's dream are fun to watch again.

My Review
The problem this episode suffers from is severe lack of plot. This was due to budget problems. They didn't have enough money to do the big action packed season finale they planned for. So instead they made a clip show. What confuses me the most about this situation is why they bothered to make this episode at all. The previous episode (TNG: Peak Performance) would have made for a far better season finale.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-07-04 at 10:05pm:
    - Pulaski recognizes that the microbes respond to brain endorphins. She then proceeds to jolt Riker with a machine so his brain can produce them. Yet, she worries that the stress may kill him. In "The Battle," Dr. Crusher claims that twenty-fourth century medical science has "mapped the brain." If they have, doesn't it seem reasonable that they would understand the endorphins the brain produces under different circumstances? Shouldn't they be able to manufacture these brain endorphins in a replicator and inject them in Riker? Then again, if Pulaski could make the endorphins, we would miss all there wonderful flashbacks! (Sorry, fighting to control my hatred for flashback shows)
    - As Pulaski uses a machine to stimulate Riker's brain, she looks in a pair of eyepieces and presses buttons. She seems to hit the right buttons without even looking. Considering that all the control surfaces on the Enterprise are flat, that's quite a feat!
  • From JRPoole on 2008-02-21 at 2:58pm:
    This is not a comment on this episode--what is there to say about this one, really?--but on the second season as a whole.

    The second season is superior to the first, mostly because the characters started coming into their own, the seeds of coming plot arcs are sown, and the writers stopped rehashing TOS plots (with the exception of "Unnatural Selection"). On my slow process of re-watching the series for the first time in years, I was surprised to see that some of the episodes I remembered most fondly--"Contagion," "Up the Long Ladder," "The Emissary," "A Matter of Honor," "Q Who"--are all this early in the series. I distinctly remember it getting better as it went along, so I'm looking forward to the upcoming seasons.

    I'm watching the series via Netflix, and the last disc I received contained the final two season 2 episodes and a smattering of special features. One of the special features was called "Memorable Missions" and consisted of the actors, producers, writers, and other behind-the-scenes types discussing their favorite episodes. I was surprised to see that the people behind the show seem to love "The Dauphin," which I consider to be among the worst episodes in existence.

    Anyway, on to season 3....
  • From JR on 2008-10-28 at 3:02am:
    DSOmo commented:

    "If they have, doesn't it seem reasonable that they would understand the endorphins the brain produces under different circumstances? Shouldn't they be able to manufacture these brain endorphins in a replicator and inject them in Riker?"

    Neurotransmitters released in the bloodstream can't reach the brain because of the blood-brain barrier. So this wouldn't have the same effect as stimulating the natural production of endorphin.
  • From Wayne on 2009-07-16 at 5:36pm:
    No one seems to remember that this episode and "peak performance" were made at the beginning of a writers strike. that why the seconds season only has 22 episode instead of the usual 26. This was a clip show that was made as filler to finish the season.
  • From curt on 2010-04-15 at 6:19pm:
    Its a clip show show, so I don't hate it! it is what it is. Im not really a fan of it, Id not even give it a rating.
  • From thaibites on 2010-09-19 at 12:21am:
    This episode is a microcosm of the 2nd season - crap. It's all probably due to the writer's strike, but it's still crap and you can't polish a turd. The only memorable episode was "Q Who". The rest were OK to forgettable. I like action, tension, and big stories. Season 2 was a collection of little stories that allowed us to get to know the characters better, which is nice, but there needed to be more "on the line" - more stories where you felt they were pushing the limits of space and may not survive. Also, Pulaski was a complete disaster. Thank God she didn't survive season 2.
    Bring on season 3 - give me Klingons, Romulans, Borg, ANYTHING - just give me some action and suspense!
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-18 at 4:42pm:
    This episode is a fraud perpetrated upon the innocent viewing public. It should come with a label – "Warning – we didn't have the money or the script to make a genuine Star Trek episode. Proceed at your own risk."

    I watched it not knowing what it was. The first 15 minutes seemed promising. Then the clip show starts. So pointless! So random! But if that isn't bad enough, when they return to the main plot, it starts to get melodramatic. And the acting gets more and more painfully awful, the clips more and more random, until I was begging for the episode to end.
    - The one good point is the final scene. It made me laugh.
  • From Dstyle on 2015-11-09 at 2:19pm:
    Pulaski (melodramatically): "We need to access intense, negative emotions to drive this infection away!"

    Troi (even more melodramtically): "Well, how about the time his mother died when he was a child? That was a major trauma! Or how about when his father abandoned him when he was fifteen? Or the time he had to fight his way off The Pegasus when the crew mutinied against the captain, even though his actions went against his principles? I mean, his early years are a goldmine of negative emotions!"

    Pulaski (desperately melodramatic, somehow topping Troi's melodrama): "No! For some reason I can only access negative memories from the last two years!"

    Clip shows, eh? What can you do? I feel bad for cast members like Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn who had to sit in the makeup chair for hours so they could be a part of this. (Wait, was Worf in this episode? Maybe in the beginning? No, I don't remember him in it at all, probably for exactly this reason.)
  • From Mark Boris on 2016-08-27 at 4:02am:
    Finally got around to watching this one. Only one I hadn't seen, can you believe it? I saved the worst for last it seems.

    Away teams ought to beam down in biohazard suits. Just sayin'.

Prove to me that you are a real person and not a spam robot by typing in the text of this image:

Return to season list