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Star Trek TNG - Season 1

Star Trek TNG - 1x01 - Encounter At Farpoint, Part I

Originally Aired: 1987-9-28

The new U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew set out "to boldly go where no one has gone before." [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.2

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 60 15 12 21 16 49 52 77 49 19 21

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Introduces numerous characters and plot threads that continue throughout Star Trek going forward.

- Picard orders yellow alert twice in this episode.

- According to Data, in the year 2036 the "New United Nations" declared that no Earth citizen could be made to answer for the crimes of his race or forebearers.
- In the year 2079 all "United Earth Nonsense" was abolished, according to Q. Presumably during the third world war.
- The drug dispensers that the World War III soldiers wore as part of their uniforms are labeled "Army R2D3PO-D," a reference to R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars.
- The nickname "Number One" Picard uses to refer to Riker is a reference to Captain Pike referring to his first officer by the same nickname from TOS: The Cage.
- McCoy is established to be 137 years old in this episode.
- This episode (both parts) was nominated for the 1988 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Remarkable Scenes
- The first sight of the Enterprise-D.
- Data listing the synonyms for snooping.
- Data reciting dialog in Picard's and Q's voices.
- Picard: "I'm not a family man, Riker, and yet Starfleet has given me a ship with children aboard. And I don't feel comfortable with children. But since a captain needs an image of geniality, you're to see that's what I project."
- Geordi regarding his visor: "It's a remarkable piece of bio-electronic engineering by which I quote 'see' much of the EM spectrum ranging from simple heat and infrared through radio waves, etc, etc and forgive me if I've sat and listened to this a thousand times before."
- McCoy's visit to the Enterprise-D and his interaction with Data.

My Review
Set in the 24th century, almost a century after TOS, Star Trek: The Next Generation looks quite different and more modern than TOS. This much-needed update to the aesthetics not only looks fantastic, it was also transitioned to remarkably smoothly. The transition from TOS, to the films, to TNG was a slow, step-by-step evolution of the 23rd century TOS aesthetic into the new 24th century aesthetic. While the new TNG look is certainly quite different, you can trace its visual design lineage back to TOS in a number ways. In this way, TNG is not a reboot, but a respectful continuation of a now epic story; a sentiment that couldn't have been expressed better than to have an aged McCoy pass the torch to a member of the new Enterprise's crew. Quite a touching moment.

In addition to new aesthetics, this new century comes with a changed Starfleet. Gone are the days when the flagship was commanded by the brash, impulsive, even reckless at times Captain Kirk. The Federation has matured now. Exploration of space has become more rigorous and routine. Captain Picard reflects this new culture with his stern, rigid personality. Life aboard the Enterprise-D is a buttoned-down affair and even children like Wesley Crusher can't help but subdue their otherwise unbridled whimsy to stand in respectful awe of the professionalism and grandeur of the operation. Perhaps the most remarkable sign of societal progress as compared to TOS is that there's even a Klingon officer serving in Starfleet now, something that would be hard to imagine during Kirk's era.

But what fun would it be to watch the glorious Galaxy-class flagship sail through the ocean of space exploring the universe in the orderly, leisurely fashion that Captain Picard would have us do? That's where Q comes in. This delightful antagonist—as he is not quite a villain—is the avatar of everything Picard is not. Q injects chaos into Picard's perfect order and ugly nuances into Picard's rosy assessment of the progressive society that the Federation has built. Certainly Q is serving as mostly a troll under the bridge, and we can't quite know what motivates his trolling, but his arguments about humanity are not without their merits. And watching the fantastic actors Patrick Stewart (Picard) and John de Lancie (Q) duel each other in a battle of words is a great deal of fun.

Unfortunately the "god-like alien toys with the heroes" plot device has become quite the cliche on Star Trek by now, as TOS did this to death. However, Encounter at Farpoint still manages to be one of the best invocations of this cliche so far and Picard's steadfast resistance to Q's low opinion of humanity is certainly in the spirit of Star Trek.

Another wrinkle in the story is how the new fictional history of Earth interacts with established canon from TOS. We learn here that sometime after the eugenics war in the 1990s established on TOS, there was in fact another war referred to as the third world war which took place decades later. This would seem to contradict Spock's line in TOS: Space Seed that the 1990s eugenics war was Earth's "last world war." An unfortunately sloppy error in what is an otherwise reasonably strong, if somewhat slow-paced start to this new series.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-22 at 8:23am:
    Some overall comments about a couple of things I noticed while watching TNG (and continued on to the next Star Trek series):
    1) The inconsistent use of the communicators. Sometimes they touch the combadge to begin a conversation, sometimes they touch the combadge to end a conversation, and other times the communicators are never touched.
    2) The "don't give a straight answer" syndrome. Picard will ask a direct question and the most common response will be, "I think you better get down here and see for yourself." This syndrome isn't limited to the TNG, I've seen it in the other Star Trek series and even other TV shows.

    At the beginning, Picard calls Deneb IV a planet at the edge of "the great unexplored mass of the galaxy." The station there is named Farpoint Station. In other words, it's located out in the middle of nowhere. Yet the Enterprise picks up several of its officers there AND the USS Hood brings an aging Admiral McCoy to visit the Enterprise. So it's common practice for Starfleet to send officers all the way to "the boonies" just to visit another ship? It's not like the Enterprise picked up its officers at a midpoint somewhere. Farpoint Station isn't on the way to anywhere!
  • From Bernard on 2007-09-16 at 7:28pm:
    May I say firstly that this site is excellent, your thorough attention to all star trek series' shows how much time you have put into this, kudos!

    I remember the first time I watched Encounter at Farpoint, I was 7 or 8 years old and I was fresh from seeing Star Trek III for the first time. I had seen little bits of the original series on re-runs so only had a general feel for that series not an in depth knowledge. But I was excited about this new series

    I was engrossed in The Next Generation from the first five minutes of Encounter at Farpoint, the excitement and newness seems so tangible in my memory even now. Of course I have watched it again many times as a kid, adolescent and now adult and I realise that it isn't the greatest episode of star trek ever made but it will always be special remembered through the eyes of a child

    As a side note, John de Lancie is remarkable as Q and I'm glad he became a recurring character throughout TNG, DS9 and Voyager

  • From Michael B on 2009-12-20 at 2:12pm:
    As you say, the acting by Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie is indeed very good, and I also thought both Beverly and Will Wheaton to be believable, but the rest of the cast come off as amateurs. Eric Bana, in an interview about the latest Star Trek film, talked about how good the acting was in that film, and that they accomplished it by not letting the weight of their responsibility of upholding the canon rest on their shoulders. He said that when an actor does that, they freeze up. There are many "reaction shots" in this episode, and most of the actors look like a deer caught in headlights when asked for a reaction. I think is is mostly the job of the director to give the actors room to be comfortable, and I think it is one of the flaws of a television show such as this that the actors have no time to bond with a director, and develop a relationship of trust, since the director changes every episode. The acting certainly gets better as the series progresses, but I wonder if it would have gotten better faster, if they were given good, consistent, direction.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-26 at 5:06pm:
    I'm finding it difficult to review the first half separately from the second half, but I do have an issue for the problems section.
    - The timing of Q chasing the Enterprise is odd. The Enterprise flees, and Q almost immediately follows. Several seconds later they announce that he is gaining on them, and he continues gaining for quite a long while. It is hard to believe he hasn't already caught them by now. Then they fire photon torpedoes, and it seems Q is way behind them. Eventually they separate the ship and turn to face Q, and the Enterprise waits for some time before Q arrives. Where has he been? Did he hit a stop light?
  • From Amiable-Akuma on 2017-06-01 at 12:03pm:
    It's not hard to convince me to give this 2-parter a 10 out of 10 review due to it being "the first", something that led to a major resurgence of sci-fi of it's ilk, nostalgia, and more.

    I love how flamboyant to the point of being near-insane that Q, Picard, and even Tasha Yar are with their line delivery sometimes. Yar's moment of "This so-called court should get down on its KNEES...!" is super memorable. It all adds up to strong random entertainment value and campy fun.

    I agree that the saucer separation/reconnect stuff is more boring but I wouldn't cut it either. That stuff looks great on blu-ray to the point it reminds how cool a well-done live-action "multi-section mecha-robot in space" series might one day work.

    All the shots introducing the bridge, engine-room, and aspects of ship overall are uniquely interesting as is our basic introductions to these characters period.

    -at first I didn't understand Picard's complaint about a ship full of children, I thought he meant figuratively, that his adult crew are still "children" in his mind due to being untested on a new voyage/etc. That that is what he wanted Riker's help with, lol. Now I kinda dig it though, that they wrote that in, 'cause I get sick of kids too in real life, hah.

    -check out how well-built Worf is during the "blast a hole through the viewscreen" scene, the whole cast seems in great shape in this particular ep.

    -I love how Q's visage says "You are dilatory", just a cool, intriguing moment/diction
  • From Encounter at Obamberg on 2023-04-15 at 3:57pm:
    When Data is in that tree on the holodeck, he acts like Lore!

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Star Trek TNG - 1x02 - Encounter At Farpoint, Part II

Originally Aired: 1987-9-28

Picard continues on with his mission to Farpoint hoping to prove to Q that humans are not a grievously savage race. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.87

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 47 11 5 15 11 48 39 35 21 17 12

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Introduces numerous characters and plot threads that continue throughout Star Trek going forward.

- The original airing of this episode showed the phaser beam which nourishes the alien space jellyfish being emitted from the captain's yacht. In the remastered version released in 2012 this was corrected.

- Given Riker's reaction to the novelty of the holodeck, it seems that up until TNG the technology remained quite rare despite its introduction almost a century earlier in TAS.
- The lights on the roof of the transporter pad are the same lights that were on the floor of the transporter pad on TOS.
- This episode (both parts) was nominated for the 1988 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard to Worf: "Do you intend to blast a hole through the viewscreen?"
- Wesley's awkward interactions with Picard.
- Picard's private meeting with Beverly clumsily attempting to welcome her aboard properly.
- Picard solving the Farpoint mystery to Q's begrudged satisfaction.

My Review
An intriguing difference from TOS seen clearly in the second part of Encounter at Farpoint is the clear establishment of long term plot arcs. The past relationship between Riker and Troi, Geordi's blindness, and Picard's history with Beverly and Wesley are all plot elements that clearly have more backstory and more developments left to unfold. In this regard, Encounter at Farpoint functions better as setup for future stories than it does as a story in its own right. Q's mystery of the space jellyfish was indeed, as Q noted, too easily solved. And the question of Q's precise motives for toying with the Enterprise crew leaves yet another mystery for a future episode to solve. While it is certainly nice to see the writers show a willingness to develop characters and plots over time which was exceedingly rare on TOS, a better story would've been more notable for its own developments rather than mostly for what it sets up for later.

The biggest flaw with Encounter at Farpoint is the pacing. So many scenes feel padded out unnecessarily to fill time. But there were other notable flaws too. One particularly cringeworthy feature of the episode is the romantic tension between Riker and Troi. They are heavily implied to have had some kind of romantic relationship in the past prior to their assignment to the Enterprise. After what was evidently a relatively amicable breakup, they are now flung back into each other's company unexpectedly by both being serendipitously assigned to the Enterprise. There's nothing wrong with that premise, but how it plays out in the episode leaves much to be desired, with the climax of absurdity being Troi not-so-subtly trying to nudge Riker into going into the underground caverns alone with her and then dropping even the pretense of subtlety when she has her "Don't! If you should be hurt!" outburst.

Troi and Riker both exhibited some unsavory characteristics of their own independent of each other too. It could perhaps go without saying that how Troi's empath powers were portrayed was quite lame. Watching her repeatedly exclaim, "Pain! Anger! Powerful mind!" is an exceptionally lazy way to do exposition, as it violates the principle of "show, don't tell." Heightening the irritation of watching these scenes is the silly degree of overacting that Marina Sirtis brings to the table for them. But we should place the majority of the blame on the writing here, not the acting. Her worst line was clearly an example of bad writing, not bad acting: "I'm only half Betazoid. My father was a Starfleet officer." She says this as if it goes without saying that her father could not be Betazoid if he was in Starfleet; as though those things are mutually exclusive. This strangely contradicts the idea that anyone can be in Starfleet, even a Klingon.

For Riker's part, his scene with Data on the holodeck was especially awkward as well, mostly for Riker's remarks, but partly for Data's as well. Mostly the problem with the scene is Riker's weirdly anachronistic prejudice directed at Data. While it was nice to see Data call him on it, it's surprising to see the show assassinate one of its main characters by depicting him as bigoted out of the gate. But then it gets even weirder when Riker responds to Data's remark about prejudice by interpreting it to mean that Data thinks he's superior, after which Data bizarrely agrees, in fact, he does consider himself superior. Yeesh. The whole point of depicting a multiracial, multispecies society like the Federation that was forged out of the crucible of the eugenics war and the "post-atomic horror" of a third world war is that by the 24th century, people should be beyond these kinds of shallow bigotries. But apparently Riker still has some lizard brain left to beat back. No wonder Q found just cause to test to see if the Federation was still "grievously savage" or if it had evolved beyond its animal instincts.

In any event, despite some awkward moments, Encounter at Farpoint is still a pretty strong story and a good start to a show that does indeed promise to be, as Picard put it, "much more interesting" down the road. Engage!

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-22 at 9:17am:
    This is the only episode where Riker and Troi communicate telepathically.

    - The computer gives Riker directions to the holodeck: the entrance is the next hatchway on the RIGHT. Riker turns LEFT!
    - While talking to Data in the holodeck, Riker comments that he looked up Data's record. He then asks Data if his degree is honorary. If Riker had read Data's record, wouldn't he have known the degree was earned?
    - While in the holodeck, Wesley fall into a stream. When he leaves the holodeck, Wesley is still wet. If matter created on the holodeck can't exist outside the holodeck, shouldn't Wesley be dry?
    - The alien ship attacks the Bandi city with energy pulses. Why didn't the alien just beam the energy down to its mate?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-28 at 11:06pm:
    The good part of this two-part episode is the interaction with Q. I like the scenes in the 21st century courtroom. The actual plot about the creature is rather pedestrian, not really of great interest.

    Historically, I have to give this episode big props for being the pilot for a great show. But if you look at it as just another episode, it has some definite weaknesses. First, as Michael B pointed out in the comments to part 1, the acting hasn't hit its stride yet. Second, there were a number of elements that they later realized were mistakes and removed.
    - The music is way too dramatic, going off like crazy at rather trivial revelations.
    - The Ship Separation scene. I guess it seemed like a good idea on paper, but wow, what a waste of time! And that "headless" ship is ugly!
    - Counselor Troi going totally over the top acting out her empathic connection with the creature.
  • From Amiable-Akuma on 2017-06-01 at 12:35pm:
    I agree that the Bandi city stuff is more boring, cheaply-manipulative, and less-interesting than the Q stuff - but upon re-watches it has grown on me. The saccharine ending feels more genuine to me now and I enjoy how the guest-actor who plays Groppler hams it up.

    -Note how in the holodeck scene, a clear "stuntman given makeup/hair to be Data" is used for that entire significant sequence where Data springs into action and pulls Wesley from the water. I find it odd that Brent Spiner couldn't at least perform the part where he is jumping down the hill quickly to get there. Maybe Spiner tried it several times and didn't look as smooth as the stunt-performer?

    -There's at least two shots in the 2nd half of this two-parter where Counselor Troi is standing, and her "official" skirt is shown to be absurdly short. I kind of love it. Shows that the 80's and Starfleet had an "innocently" sexy vibe.

    -Note Troi's headband, hair, and uniform in general. Odd seeing her introduced as such, given that her classic "cleavage" unitard and style becomes so familiar to her

    -Finally, Marina Sirtis' acting as Troi bothered the hell out of me when I first saw this, especially the director's choice to linger so much on her "feeling the emotions" scenes. It felt cheap, corny, unnecessary. But I'm over it now. I realize it's part of the silly charm to her character and that's all a means to an end for many storylines, etc.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x03 - The Naked Now

Originally Aired: 1987-10-5

A mysterious contaminant causes the crew to act intoxicated. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.73

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 51 48 17 31 43 33 40 25 9 5 13

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Aside from serving as a sequel to the already nonfiller episode TOS: The Naked Time, this episode also has essential character development for Data and Tasha Yar which will be quite relevant in later episodes.

- The doctor "confines" Geordi to sickbay and yet he just walks out of the room.
- When Data is looking up information about the original series Enterprise, the computer displays a diagram of the refitted Enterprise from the later films instead of the pre-refit Enterprise that was in use during TOS: The Naked Time. This error was fixed for the Blu-ray remastering.

- When Data is looking up computer information, a brief screen flashes by depicting some sort of bird with Gene Roddenberry's head on it. The text in the corner reads "the great bird of the galaxy," which is a reference to a line spoken by Sulu on TOS: The Man Trap referencing Roddenberry's nickname: "May the great bird of the galaxy bless your planet!"
- This episode establishes that the Enterprise featured in TOS was a Constitution class ship.
- This episode inspired the hilarious, classic YouTube video known as Riker destroys the Enterprise.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data correcting Riker about whether something is blown out or sucked out regarding explosive decompression.
- Data noting that he is listed in several bio-mechanical texts.
- Data confused by the "snoot full" expression.
- Data: "There was a rather peculiar limerick being delivered by someone in the Shuttlecraft bay. I am not sure I understand it. 'There was a young lady from Venus; whose body was shaped like—'" Picard: "Captain to Security, come in!" Data: "Did I say something wrong?" Worf: "I don't understand their humor either."
- Yar's sexual encounter with Data.
- Picard and Beverly drunk.
- Data drunk.

My Review
This homage to TOS: The Naked Time is about as effective as the original. In some ways better, in other ways worse. Like the original, we get a chance to unmask the characters' innermost desires in a largely amusing way. Geordi's desire for normal sight is a particular highlight. Like the original though, the framing device strays into cringeworthy territory at times. The best example of this contradiction is the portrayal of Tasha's intimacy issues. While it's understandable that someone who grew up surrounded by "rape gangs" and spent years struggling to escape would have some intimacy issues to work through, the narrative trivializes her experiences by making a goofy comedy out of them. While these scenes add depth to both Tasha's and Data's characters, the subject probably should've been depicted with a bit more seriousness. Another small detail which exemplifies this lack of polish is Tasha's line to Troi about how she "always" wears "the most beautiful clothes off duty," which is a curious remark given that Troi seems to inexplicably wear such casual attire all the time now, even when on duty.

Wesley's part of the story was problematic too. For starters, it is not explained why nobody bothered to just phaser blast a hole through the window to get to Wesley sooner. Much more problematic though is having so many characters praising Wesley at the end of the story for saving the ship when he arguably caused most of the danger to begin with by taking over Engineering. Without Wesley's interference, the Enterprise would certainly not have had such a close call, and it's also possible the Tsiolkovsky may not have been destroyed. Sure, it's true everyone including Wesley was under the influence of the contaminant, but the that doesn't fully excuse his actions. The contaminant merely lowered Wesley's inhibitions. It did not fully control him. As such, while punishing him for behaviors he engaged in while under the influence would have been unfair, so too is praising him for the equally rash actions that incidentally saved the ship from the crisis he played a large role in creating.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-25 at 9:19am:
    - Picard states in his log that he is concerned "at being in such close orbit" to the collapsing star. Later, when Data states that the downloading of the research information will be complete in forty-one minutes, Picard seems irritated at the length of time. If Picard is so concerned about the collapsing star, why doesn't he just lock a tractor beam on the Tsiolkovsky and pull it to safety? BUT WHEN Worf tells Picard he is getting strange readings from the star, Picard tells him to wait.
    - Wesley blocks the door to Engineering with a repulser beam. Riker and the Chief Engineer spend their time trying to get past the beam, when they could just transport in.
    - Data drunk ???
    - Riker handles his "intoxication" surprisingly well (considering what it's doing to the rest of the crew) However, Picard gets intoxicated very quickly after only breathing Dr. Crusher's breath.
    - Hundreds of crew members are intoxicated. But when Riker brings Troi to sick bay, Dr. Crusher wants to quarantine Riker??
    - As Riker talks to Data about remembering someone "getting a shower with their clothes on," he sits down on the data entry section of the adjacent workstation. Wouldn't this be like sitting on a computer keyboard?
  • From Bernard on 2007-09-17 at 8:24pm:
    I enjoyed this episode as a 'getting to know us' episode, some great early character development that also paid homage to the original series. I agree that it is better than the original...

    Unfortunately this episode really cannot stand up to repeat viewings, so that counts badly against it. Not a bad early effort though
  • From TashaFan on 2008-09-08 at 3:38am:
    Two words: Tasha's dress.
  • From Michael B. on 2009-12-20 at 7:11pm:
    I thought the direction in this episode, by Paul Lynch, was much better than the first. The story may have contributed to better acting, as well, as the plot device called for everyone to "loosen up", it seems the actors were able to, as well. All in all, I felt that everyone was quite believable as a drunk, which is not the easiest trick to pull off.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-05 at 1:15pm:
    In general, I thought the "drunken" performances were somewhat boring, I preferred the Naked Time. Except that I did like Dr. Crusher acting "half-drunk".

    - I've always thought that Data was portrayed inconsistently in this episode, as if the conception of how he was built changed. Later shows with Data repeatedly make a point about how different he is from the rest of the crew, how it unaffected by things which affect every biological crewmember regardless of species. Yet here is affected by, of all things, water molecules which act like alcohol. They seem to be implying that he has a strong biological component in early episodes, yet in later episodes, whenever he gets damaged, there is never any sign that he is filled with water.
    - I think it would be quite fair to be impressed by Wesley. He endangers the ship because he is infected with the water virus; that shouldn't be held against him, that isn't his fault.
  • From Rob UK on 2014-01-17 at 1:20pm:
    Argghhhhhh!!!!! I just noticed Data is a sexbot, possibly even a prostidroid, he tells Tasha (much to her delight) he is programmed in multiple techniques, a broad variety of pleasuring?!?

    Really Dr Sung???? What were you really up to with your fleet of manbot sex dolls?

    Clearly when data joined the asexual almost androgynous Starfleet culture his sexbot functions were of little use so he adapted his programming to be of use.

    Clearly i am having a laugh here but with a serious observation, I just started watching TNG from the beginning (again, lost count long ago) enjoying the good and the bad episodes equally as always, for some reason the suffering of going through a bad episode makes the next good one you watch all that more a piece of delicious sweet mind candy to gorge on.
  • From jeffenator98 on 2019-08-08 at 5:26pm:
    A lame episode based on another lame episode. 1/10.
  • From Three of Four on 2022-05-15 at 9:48pm:
    Didn't know the YouTube video. Had to post a comment just to thank you for that hilarious tip!
  • From The Naked President on 2023-04-16 at 12:09pm:
    Picard explains to Troi that it is not an infection. After that he says infected/infection like 5 times.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x04 - Code of Honor

Originally Aired: 1987-10-12

Tasha is kidnapped. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 2.84

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 68 23 41 22 31 14 16 10 5 4 8

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- There is some stuff here which foreshadows Wesley's more prominent role as a member of the crew later, but none of it is essential viewing.


- It is heavily implied that the Ligonians use the same transporters as TOS. Even the effects are similar.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data correcting Picard regarding what century the gift originates from.
- Picard's irritation with Beverly wanting to discuss Wesley.
- Picard giving Wesley a chance. "Sir?" then, "Sir?" then Picard says, "Is the whole ship deaf?"
- Data offending Picard when discussing the French language.
- Riker being carefully talked into agreeing that Picard should lead the away team.
- Picard rambling on "about something everybody already knows."

My Review
There is a decent idea for a story about diplomacy here, but it's buried beneath a lot of bad stylistic choices. It's pretty hard not to see the Ligonians as racist stereotyping and the conflict surrounding Yar as sexist stereotyping, particularly the scene where Data described the weapons as so light that even women could use them. Some smaller stylistic choices were awkward too, such as Data of all people tripping over his words with the "includling" line; a vocal mistake that is hard to suspend disbelief on, Beverly's unprofessional panicking about the vaccine, and a series of scenes with stilted dialog that the actors were clearly stumbling over. While the episode does have a few nice details and a few amusing scenes, what we have here is unfortunately mostly cringeworthy.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 7:49am:
    - While presenting Lutan with the horse statue, Picard says that he is aware of the Ligonian culture's unique similarity to an ancient Earth culture that he "admires." However, later in the episode, Picard states that the customs of the Ligonian culture are the "same kind of pompous strutting charades that endangered our own species a few centuries ago."
    - Just before the battle to the death, we are told: "The rules are known. Let combat continue until there is a victory. It will not be interrupted." But during the battle, when Yareena loses her weapon, Lutan stops the fight. I thought the battle would not be interrupted!! And why is Lutan stopping the fight to return the weapon to Yareena? Doesn't he want Yar to kill his wife so he can inherit her wealth?
  • From Bernard on 2007-09-21 at 10:31pm:
    Another good early effort, that holds up to repeat viewings well. Maybe I'm one of the few that agree with you there!

    Probably one of two episodes where yar is brought to the fore.. she was an interesting enough character with a good background story just a shame denise crosby didn't hang in there for longer

    one aside here, tng at this point is still very much working on the OS premise of 'planet of the week' episodes (coupled with the aliens that look identical to humans)
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-06 at 10:25pm:
    I'm one who never liked this episode, but it doesn't seem quite as awful now as it did the first time I watched it. The basic concept is not that bad. I think my problems are twofold:
    1. The acting from everyone is painful at the beginning of the episode. It felt like they hadn't gotten the hang of how to do TNG yet and were overreacting to everything in a way reminiscent of TOS, and this didn't work in the context of TNG.
    2. The episode led up to the fight scene at the end, which I found to be quite underwhelming. When rewatching this I had no expectations for the fight scene so it didn't bother me.
  • From Axel on 2018-06-09 at 2:55am:
    The only way the portrayal of the Ligonians could've been more racist is if the actors had been white people in blackface. Whenever I re-watch TNG's first couple seasons and see aliens in hilariously dumb costumes, I think of these guys and realize it only went uphill.

    Data refers to French as an "obscure language" which of course sets off Picard. This is a bit weird since Data, having the crew's personnel records, would no doubt be aware that Picard has French ancestry and is presumably familiar with the language. But Picard's response must've had some effect, because in "Time's Arrow" we see that Data now speaks fluent French.

    During the fight, Yareena's spikey glove flies off her hand and strikes a spectator. A few seconds later, he keels over, dies, and is carried away by other Ligonians almost as if they were expecting it. Is it also considered honorable in Ligonian society to die from watching honorable combat? Otherwise, poor bastard didn't get the benefits of the Enterprise medical treatment.
  • From Harrison on 2020-01-26 at 6:02pm:
    Political correctness has long demanded that this episode be viewed as an offensive aberration. That's nonsense, of course. Sure, the episode has some typical early TNG plot foibles (eg, the Ligonians were able to develop transport technology?) and the combat scene is a little silly, but overall it is actually a solid effort that explores some interesting themes. Stewart and Crosby are both in great form. It's far more engaging than many early TNG clunkers (like the episode that follows, "The Last Outpost".)
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-03 at 7:23am:
    I basically agree this episode is terrible, but for me, watching it again for the first time in years, it's ventured into "so bad it's good" territory. While I agree it's pretty skippable, I'd say if you're a newbie to TNG, do watch this episode at least once and revel in the cringe. (Protip: you don't have to be sober.)

    A few things I think make it worth a watch:
    - Wes sitting at ops for the first time. Significant, and hilariously awkward. The way it's handled, I can't tell if the producers were *going* for the awkwardness, or not.
    - Has a bit of iconic dialogue that made it into the famous "Picard song" where Troi answers "you're the captain, sir; you're entitled."
    - focus on Yar, which is unfortunately scarce in TNG.
    - the over -the-top cheesy music. It's almost TOS-level campy.
    - Data's attempts at humor. Or rather, the writers' and Brent Spiner's attempts to get a bead on Data's relationship to humor.
    - "Troi, I'm your friend, and you tricked me!

    Problem: Where was Worf? They could have made a lot of use of his character, being from a culture that also places a high emphasis on honor. Very disappointing they didn't work Worf into the plot somehow. (Maybe, just as in "Starship Mine," he called dibs on not having to show up in this episode.)

    It's a strange feeling, watching an episode centered around "the vaccine!" now in mid-2021. Knowing a bit more now about how vaccines are developed and how they work, it seems kind of silly for this episode's MacGuffin to be a vaccine, considering the people on this planet are a different species, and thus would not be able to develop, test, or manufacture a vaccine for any offworld species, let alone manufacture millions of them. They could have had some plant or rare compound used in an antidote, or something. A nitpick, sure, but it's damn lazy writing!

    negative 5/7.
  • From Chuck the Canuck on 2023-05-19 at 1:17pm:
    Yes, yes, this episode holds up extremely poorly especially with our post-2020 hindsight. That said, I don't believe in judging it by modern standards; I think even in 1987 it was a bit much, especially when you look back at The Original Series twenty years earlier. Kind of a slap in the face to the progress TOS had made with Uhura.

    I agree this episode is worth watching mainly to see how the actors and writers were working to figure out the show and characters. Spiner and the writing team didn't just create the beloved Data we know from the beginning. It took some trial and error mainly in the first season to sort it out. Same with Picard, who is very, noticeably different in the first season in terms of dialogue and temperament. That exchange with Troi that Azalea Jane mentioned is also a flash of later Picard.

    On a side note, Garrett Wang routinely roasts this episode when he appears at conventions. Apparently, it was the first and only episode of TNG he saw prior to getting cast as Ensign Kim on VOY. So, he came into that show thinking TNG had set a pretty low bar. It wasn't until later that he watched more TNG and became a fan.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x05 - The Last Outpost

Originally Aired: 1987-10-19

The crew encounters Ferengi bandits. [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 3.08

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 74 13 23 31 24 23 15 16 11 6 3

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- While this is the first appearance of the Ferengi, it is not necessary to see this episode to understand later episodes, even Ferengi-centric episodes.

- Geordi says that the Ferengi are "now angling through that solar system." This is a common error. The term he was looking for is planetary system. The planetary system we live in is called the Solar System because our star is named Sol. As such, the term "Solar System" is a proper noun, not a generic term.

- Armin Shimmerman, one of the Ferengi in this episode eventually goes on to play a regular Ferengi character on DS9 named Quark. He also guest stars as Quark in both a later episode of TNG and Voyager making him one of very few characters/actors to play in at least one episode in all three series.
- This episode establishes that Ferengi are capable of resisting Betazoid telepathy.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Chinese finger trap scene.
- The Ferengi expressing disgust at "clothed females."

My Review
Another stylistically awkward episode, but not as bad this time. The Ferengi are thought to be a serious threat at first, but it turns out that they were merely posturing to appear more threatening than they actually were. In reality they are mostly harmless and totally ridiculous. Meanwhile, yet another godlike alien shows up and also appears to be a serious threat at first, but is soon mollified by Riker answering a few riddles. Riker then gets all chummy with this "guardian of the Tkon Empire" who for some reason isn't all that broken up about having slept through the demise of his entire nation.

Contented with having an insufferably smug conversation with Riker about the inferiority of the Ferengi right in front of them, the guardian then disarms the automated weapon that disabled both the Enterprise and the Ferengi ship, then makes known his intent to return to his everlasting coma, possibly never to be seen again by anybody ever. Okay. Right. Sure.

Clearly these parallel scary aliens who turn out not to be so scary after all were meant to mirror TOS: The Corbomite Maneuver, one of TOS' less savory episodes. This episode manages to only slightly improve on the original's formula by having slightly less terrible pacing. It appears they also wanted to evoke TOS by beaming over the Chinese finger traps to the Ferengi ship. This is similar to how Scotty beamed over the tribbles to the Klingon ship in TOS: The Trouble with Tribbles.

Setting aside Star Trek's oft-overwrought stylistic choices though, there are some nice details here. It's nice to see the Ferengi make an appearance, who were first mentioned in Encounter at Farpoint. The designs of their ship, alien makeup, and their weapons were memorable too. And while their function as a caricature of capitalism was as overwrought as most of the rest of the episode, the idea of portraying a less socialist and more capitalist version of the Federation on Star Trek is intriguing. As such it would be well worth exploring the Ferengi in more depth later, though next time hopefully less childishly.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 3:19pm:
    Changed Premise: during this episode, Troi says she "senses the Ferengi captain is hiding something." In the future episode "Menage a Troi," Betazoids cannot read Ferengi minds.

    - Just after the force field seizes the Enterprise, something begins reading information from the ship's computer. When Data's workstation is shown, some of the information is being displayed upside down (i.e. the Klingon and Federation symbols.
    - In Picard's first attempt to contact the Ferengi, he asks Yar to open hailing frequencies, and she quickly responds. Then Picard says, "At least we won't begin with weakness." Why would he say something like that with the hailing frequencies open? That is the last thing he would want the Ferengi to hear!
    - When the away team beams down to the planet, Riker appears alone. He begins walking around and yelling for the others. Why doesn't he just use his combadge? It is true that Data later discovers the communicators are out, but Riker never even tried to use his.
  • From Bernard on 2007-09-30 at 12:10pm:
    I don't rate this episode very highly now, but I do find it to be a bit of fun and at the time I thought it was fascinating. Probably because of the following;
    A good glimpse at a new race that have some kind of genuine technology and menace (not for long though)
    Riker gets something of a centre stage while picard is stuck on the ship (something that happens many times over the first 2 seasons)
    The start of this episode is great, the tension created by following the unknown ferengi (which soon evaporates as the story unfolds)

    overall not a terrible outing for me, but too many weak points
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 9:51am:
    An interesting, if small, detail: In early TNG when establishing communications, Star Fleet personnel say "open a frequency". Later this shifts to "open a channel". Not sure for the reason for this change, but "open a channel" sounds better to me.
  • From Jim on 2011-12-25 at 2:28pm:
    Geordi's reaction to Riker's plan to jump to Warp 9 then "come back fightin'" is far and away the worst line and the most poorly delivered line in the entire series.
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-04 at 6:22pm:
    This ep certainly isn't the worst of Season 1. It's not quite "bad," per se, but there's not a whole lot redeeming about it either. Watching it this time, though, it sparked a new idea for something I can do during my current rewatch: I'm calling it "Data's Emotionspotting." I know a lot of it in this episode is first season awkwardness, but even later on, Data displays MANY expressions that could be interpreted as emotive or illogical. It's clear that Soong has programmed him to have at least *some* quasi-human reactions to things (such as interest and confusion), even though he reports not experiencing the emotions themselves. That's actually somewhat believable, considering what we find out about Lore later.

    Examples of Data's weird behavior in this episode:
    - his aside to LaForge about second officers. He'd display no dismay or relief, especially around a comment that doesn't not actually affect him. It was a cool little camera trick, and kind of a funny line, sort of, but it's so out of character it just feels gratuitous.
    - his offhand comment about Yankee Traders while the Ferengi captain was onscreen. Unprompted and -- as he should know -- counterproductive. Data is usually cautious about talking out of turn.
    - when he gets his fingers stuck in the finger trap, he seems embarrassed. Also, he should be strong enough to break the finger trap! (BTW, what was that finger trap doing there in the first place?)

    I wonder what TPTB (the powers that be) were thinking when they designed the Ferengi in this episode. Could they not see how pathetic and dislikable the Ferengi are here and how unconvincing of a villain they are? Fortunately TNG did come up with some very worthy antagonists like the Borg and the Cardassians later on.

    Nitpick: on the planet in front of the Portal guy, they keep referring to "humans" when Worf, a Klingon is standing right there, and nobody points it out. This is a continuing problem throughout the series, too - Troi, Worf, and/or Data are constantly lumped in with "humans", even though Troi is half human, Worf was only raised by humans, and Data is a human-shaped android lacking (most) human emotion -- none of them full humans.

    Agreed with Jim above how LaForge's line about "come back fighting" is cheesy as hell!
  • From kevin on 2021-09-01 at 11:32pm:
    Wow, I just watched this today, in 2021, have not seen it for literally 30 years. I forgot the story. The beginning is QUITE suspenseful and has great music and packing. I was tense and trying to figure out what the Enterprise and crew were going to do. THEN....They hit the planet with the Ferengi and the story goes mostly to hell. It becomes an old TOS type story, and is silly on top of it. SO, not horrible, but just quite blah overall.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x06 - Where No One Has Gone Before

Originally Aired: 1987-10-26

The crew is sent a billion light years from their own galaxy. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.17

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 56 3 5 12 14 18 42 33 39 17 19

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode is essential viewing for Wesley's character development.

- At one point in this episode we can hear the warp core booming very fast, but behind Wesley, we can see the light which is apparently supposed to cause the booms only moving at the regular slow speed.
- Data says subspace communication can travel 2.7 million light years in 51 years, 10 months, 9 weeks, and 16 days, which is a quite odd way of saying 52 years, 2 weeks, and 4 days.
- This episode establishes the top speed of the Enterprise as 9,000 light years per year but also notes that only 11% of the Milky Way galaxy has been charted by the Federation. These two figures would seem at odds with each other, as the Milky Way galaxy isn't much larger than 100,000 light years wide. At this speed, it would only take a couple decades to go everywhere.
- When Picard calls Wesley to the bridge at the end of the episode, he appears seconds later, as if he was waiting in the turbolift waiting for the call!

- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
- LaForge says "we're passing warp 10!" This line is notable because according to off screen sources, warp 10 is infinite speed on the new TNG scale, which calculates warp speeds differently than TOS. Data seemed to confirm that seconds later by stating that they were "off the scale."
- This episode establishes that subspace communication can travel 2.7 million light years in about 52 years, or roughly 52,000 light years per year.
- This episode establishes that only 11% of the Milky Way galaxy has been charted by the Federation at this time.
- This episode establishes that the Enterprise can travel up to 9,000 light years per year.

Remarkable Scenes
- Kosinski's incredibly obnoxious behavior.
- Picard walking out into space from the turbolift.

My Review
While this is yet another not-so-subtle nod to a TOS episode—this time to TOS: Where No Man Has Gone Before—this time the rehash is far superior to the original. Even the title reflects careful refinement: replacing the word "man" with "one" in the title of the episode (just as was done in the opening theme of TNG versus TOS) is an explicit rebuke of the accidental(?) sexism of TOS' popular catchphrase "where no man has gone before."

In the original take on the story, Gary Mitchell embodied both Kosinski's obnoxiousness and the Traveler's superpowers in a single person. Separating these two qualities into two different characters and misleading the characters into thinking Kosinski had real talent only to be outed by Wesley was a nice touch. The foreshadowing about Wesley possibly having the potential to develop the Traveler's superpowers himself some day is also an intriguing piece of character development for him; as was Picard deciding to make him an acting ensign and encouraging him to go to the academy.

The metaphysical stuff about thought becoming reality at the edge of the universe worked considerably less well. Star Trek is not exactly at its best when it delves into this new-agey quasi-religious mumbo jumbo as a plot device. And once again we have yet another non-corporeal somewhat godlike alien. All things considered though, this is the best episode since Encounter at Farpoint.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Bernard on 2007-12-03 at 9:09pm:
    I like this one, but it could and should have been so much better. The guest characters are excellent too.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-02-17 at 2:23pm:
    I thought this episode was fairly successful, especially by first season standards. In many of the early episodes the characters seem unreasonably obtuse just to move the story along, but here their decisions mostly made sense. I liked how everyone knew Kozinsky's equations were nonsense, but since they worked on other ships, they had no choice but to let him try them. I liked how Picard decided to skip the science after the first trip and concentrate on getting back home. That is what I would have done, if I thought I had discovered a new warp formula; the potential military and scientific value of nearly limitless warp speed would far outweigh the value of one more scientific survey. I liked the pacing of how the first trip takes them far, and the second takes them some else totally different, and the way Picard comments on how he could believe the first, but not the second. Riker's dismissal of Wesley seemed rather obtuse, but I like how he admitted his mistake. The main down side: I wasn't that fond of the "super-Wesley" idea when I first saw the episode, and it doesn't seem any better now.
  • From Jason on 2011-07-15 at 6:16pm:
    I agree with Wil Wheaton from his Season One reviews: this is the first episode that is not "a stinker", and it's leagues beyond the five episodes that precede it.
  • From Omcn_7 on 2012-01-25 at 4:47am:

    On first viewing (when I was a kid) this was one of my favorite episodes for the series. I watched it so many times I wore out the tape. :)

    As an adult viewing this episode I remember why I liked it but it doesn't have quite the same appeal. However I give it a 9 because of how much enjoyment I had as a child. I think this is the very episode that made a trek fan out of me for life.

    Watching again I noticed one error. Kozinsky mentions that being out this far they have an excellent chance for scientific discovery, to which Picard replies and we report our findings how and to whom? I am not certain this is consistent with Picard's character. In later episodes it would seem to me that Picard is out there to discover, period, regardless of if he can report it to Starfleet or not. The man is kinda a loner.
  • From Trekkie on 2012-07-07 at 5:06pm:
    One of my favorite TNG episodes.I just wish they could have explored the far away galaxy more.It would have been cool to see all the civilizations that inhabited some of the planets.
  • From dms on 2012-09-22 at 6:00am:
    In my opinion, this is the best episode in the series up to this point. While the Picard turbolift scene was surprising, the scene that really struck me was the one with his mother.

    One of the problems you did not mention was that some of the "hallucinations" are visible to everyone, but others only appear to the person having them.

    Kozinsky I thought was over-the top. A little bit too much of Wesley also. The actor playing the Traveller did a good job though.
  • From SJ on 2013-03-04 at 3:20am:
    Remarkable 1980's futuristic fashion in this episode:

    Wesley's sweater. Did grandma knit that, or did he swipe it from Bill Cosby? Possibly worse than his infamous rainbow GrrAnimals suit.

    Redshirt ballerina's Jhericurl.

    Redshirt dude's manskirt uniform.

    Factoids: Chief Engineer Argyle was later sent to by the Traveler to the Star Wars universe, where he assumed the name Porkins and tragically died in the battle of the first Death Star.
  • From Oren on 2014-02-03 at 3:18am:
    One of the most memorable episodes of my younger years. Watching it now that I'm older doesn't have the same impact but as a teenager the mysterious episodes, those with a sense of wonder where some thing go unexplained, were my favorites. Both the Traveler and the far away galaxy ignited my imagination during and after the episode.
  • From Axel on 2018-06-10 at 9:49pm:
    I swear I've seen the "edge of the universe" in one of my digital effects libraries as a Christmas/winter holiday background.

    Ah, the Traveler. He's TNG's version of Prophet/wormhole alien, albeit thankfully far less featured. I agree that this brand of New Age/sci-fi fusion is annoying, although it was all the rage in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    It would be interesting to see an episode like this made now, given what we've discovered or theorized about what's beyond the observable universe. It could make for a cool, fascinating episode without delving into "thought becomes reality" crap. Humans have always fantasized about our thoughts, dreams, imaginations, whatever somehow being connected to reality. What may be at the "edge" of the universe is far more mind-blowing.

    Anyway, enough geeking out. The episode was at least entertaining and attention-grabbing, a very nice break from turban-wearing African stereotype aliens, Aryan free-love aliens, and humanoid fish and snake aliens.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x07 - Lonely Among Us

Originally Aired: 1987-11-2

Alien beings take control of Crusher, Worf and Picard. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.91

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 38 5 9 21 40 20 16 13 18 3 2

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- There's no essential plot or exposition in this episode that renders it unskippable, but it's a decent episode, even though it could have been better.



Remarkable Scenes
- Data mimicking Sherlock Holmes.
- Picard's creepy behavior while possessed.
- The senior officers plotting a mutiny.

My Review
This episode is like a less good version of TOS: Journey to Babel. Instead of rehashing that terrific episode, the more interesting story about the conflict between the two alien delegations is largely ignored so we can have yet another energy life form of the week.

There is a scene early on that about perfectly sums up the level of effort put into conceptualizing this story: when Worf freaks out while receiving medical attention, Beverly asks the injured crewman who tried to help restrain him, "Are you okay?" He never responds and doesn't move much but she doesn't seem to care. She's on autopilot helping Worf. She only pays lip service to that minor character over there.

That's how we should imagine the writers felt about this episode too. It's like they were on autopilot repeating the tired energy life form formula ad nauseam and like Beverly being too checked out to pay any real attention to her comrade, the writers were too checked out to pay any real attention to the subplot.

This story isn't without its charms though. Picard possessed was highly entertaining, as was Data's goofy embrace of Sherlock Holmes. It's a shame they didn't let the two alien delegations be the main plot instead of the subplot. Having Data put on the Sherlock Holmes persona to solve a conventional murder would've been a much more fun episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 3:21am:
    When Dr. Crusher wanted to talk to Worf about his memory block. His response, "I still don't remember having one." :)

    - The entity controlled Picard orders a course change of "9-2-5 mark 3-7." No wonder the crew is suspicious!! The episode "Datalore" states that headings have a maximum of 360 for each number.
    - I have a problem with the "transporter retaining Picard's physical pattern in the transporter buffers" idea. Data reconstructs Picard using that pattern. In essence, the transporter has duplicated Picard. With this theory, when someone dies on an away team, the crew could just use the transporter to duplicate the person (just as they were before beaming out)
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-10 at 9:32pm:
    The fact that I still like this episode shows it can stand repeat viewings well (for me anyway)

    I love Patrick Stewart in this episode, and the meetings held by the rest of the crew to discuss the possibility of removing picard from command are great.

    Unfortunately thesse details do not save the episode from being average.

    Oh, and nice appearance by o'brien in this episode (who still doesn't have a name yet)
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-23 at 11:44pm:
    I thought it was clever that the mysterious malfunctions were caused by an alien entity trying to communicate a desire to get home and not knowing how to do it. I was confused about why Picard beamed into space, though; they talked as though he wanted to become an energy being, but all I saw was the alien mind-controlling him.

    Responding to DSOmo: While the transporters retain the pattern of Picard, they need the "energy essence" of the real Picard in order to recreate him. They state that the process won't work unless energy-Picard has found his way into the transporter circuits so he can be re-integrated with his body. (Maybe it works like reuniting Spock's katra with his body in Star Trek III).

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Star Trek TNG - 1x08 - Justice

Originally Aired: 1987-11-9

Wesley is sentenced to death. [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 3.16

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 50 28 21 39 22 16 9 16 5 5 9

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- Pretty lame episode with no significant long term continuity.

- In the opening lines of the episode Picard refers to the "Strnad solar system" and the adjoining "Rubicun star system." Both terms are wrong. This is a common error. The term he was looking for is planetary system. The planetary system we live in is called the Solar System because our star is named Sol. As such, the term "Solar System" is a proper noun, not a generic term. The term "star system" is also wrong because that term is supposed to refer to a system of stars, not a system of planets, e.g. a binary or trinary star system.

- This episode establishes that capital punishment was fully outlawed in the Federation sometime between TOS and TNG.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf: "Nice planet."
- Worf's statement that he would have to restrain himself during sex with a human woman so as not to injure her and Riker's amused reaction.
- Picard: "Data, don't babble." Data: "Babble, sir? I'm not aware that I ever babble, sir. It may be from time to time I have considerable information to communicate and you make question the way in which I organize it..."
- Data offending Beverly with his fascination over her panic about Wesley's predicament.

My Review
The crew enjoys some shore leave on yet another planet whose alien inhabitants look exactly like humans. Picard finds that detail oddly remarkable, but by now we have so many similar examples. The unimaginative blandness of the Edo is further compounded when it turns out they are mindless pleasure zombies exhibiting behavior so shallow it's hard not to spend half the episode groaning at that alone. But worry not, there is plenty else to groan about. Not the least of which is their asinine criminal justice system.

The idea that the Federation should be high-minded enough to respect the local laws and customs of the sovereign nations they visit is a good premise for a story, but it's explored in a mostly sloppy way here. For starters, just visiting the planet to begin with was a violation of the Prime Directive, since they were clearly not a spacefaring civilization. Despite that the Edo seemed oddly aware of the existence of other civilizations, or at least totally unsurprised to receive visitors from outer space.

But even leaving all that aside, the Edo's policy of randomly executing people for trivial and even accidental violations of law—but only sometimes when that law is deemed punishable today by the roll of the dice—is the stupidest idea for a criminal justice system ever. It lacks both consistency as well as justification for the lack of consistency. For any kind of enlightened system of criminal justice to make sense, there has to be equality under the law. And in cases where the law is applied unequally, there tends to be some kind of underlying societal motive, like systemic discrimination, or simply the arbitrary whims of a cruel ruler.

But such motivations are not present here. Instead, the Edo just seem uniformly idiotic. They can't figure out a way to enforce their laws uniformly, so they just do it randomly and don't see any problems with that whatsoever. Given that, it's no wonder Picard chose to violate the Prime Directive to be rid of these people. Their local laws and customs are so idiotic that they simply don't deserve to be respected. The Prime Directive was dreamed up by someone who never expected alien civilizations to be this stupid.

That said, watching Picard wrestle with the ethics was still pretty compelling. It would've been nice if such scenes were set to the backdrop of a more compelling moral dilemma, but they were still well executed all the same. And despite how overwhelmingly lame the Edo were as a concept, watching the crew make the most of the experience certainly resulted in a series of pretty amusing, if at times overly goofy scenes. So while most of this episode is pretty painful, it's somewhat offset by some good stuff here and there.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 6:02pm:
    - How can Yar review the Edo's laws and customs, but not know the price for violating them (one punishment for any crime)?
    - Picard tells Troi that he wants to speak to Dr. Crusher personally about what has happened to Wesley. When Picard returns to the Enterprise, Dr. Crusher stops him and demands to know what he is going to do about Wesley. She states that she read the away team report. What away team report? The away team is still on the planet. Even if they had made the report from the planet, Picard just told the away team that he wanted to handle the situation.
    - There is a simple solution to the Prime Directive dilemma in this episode. Picard already used this solution in "Code Of Honor." Why not let the Edo inject Wesley, watch him die, beam him back to the ship, warp away, and resuscitate him? At one point, Riker took a syringe from a mediator, they could have used it to make an antidote.
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-16 at 12:46am:
    There are not many episodes that I rate as lowly as this one.

    I find it insulting to my intelligence that picard and the crew spend the latter portion of the episode worrying over breaking the prime directive when by the very fact they have revealed themselves to such a primative culture is surely against the prime directive in the first place!

    Other than that, there are a few small delights such as the first time worf describes something as merely 'nice'. A few nice moments for Gates McFadden to sink her teeth into, and in my opinion Wil Wheaton does remarkably well with some atrocious dialogue.
  • From Sherman on 2016-06-30 at 7:55am:
    I've been watched everything on this list and read every review after I watched an episode and out of everything this episode stuck with me the most because of the absolute law and the captains decision to ignore the prime directive and just take Wesley with him.
  • From Chris Long on 2020-07-25 at 1:24am:
    You know? I like light-skinned folk as much as the next guy, but this race of beings is far more irritating than the TOS Episode, the Apple where everyone was some hunk version of a white Adonis!

    Who thought this was a good idea?!?!?

    ... I'm no BLM guy but come on!!!
    This episode just insults every sense of intelligence of all but the absolute stupidest people in existence!

    How could this crapfest ever get past the producers?!?
    Pure garbage, start to finish. And While I understand they were fleshing out the characters, this is worse than the worst TOS episode by miles and miles!
    Season one of TNG is truly a throwaway season in every sense. I can't believe my kid and I loved it so much when it first came out!!!

    He even had genuine TNG uniform! He'd have been a much better Wesley too!
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-05 at 11:50pm:
    This ep is so silly it should basically be non-canon, like Force of Nature. Many violations of the Prime Directive in TNG are a little bit more circumstantial, but this is one is straight up "we found a nice planet with some horny aliens on it and we're gonna go chat with them and vacation on their planet!"

    They don't seem to have (or even think to look for) any anthropological data on the history of Edo society or any other societies on their planet. They just materialize out of nowhere and the Edo are apparently not fazed by this!

    Agreed with DSOmo above -- Yar says "I've listed my report on their customs and laws, sir. Fairly simple-- common sense things." Not looking at the punishments is a massive oversight for a security chief.

    I also noticed something along the lines of Chris Long's comment above: Every Edo is white, blonde, fit, and apparently straight, living in an orderly society enforced by an extremely authoritarian legal code and protected by an actual god. An Aryan paradise! We're not supposed to respect the Edo, exactly, so it could be interpreted as a subtle dig, but it still rubbed me the wrong way just a tiny bit, even as a white person myself. (Maybe I'm just jealous I'm not blonde.)

    I do like the takeaway: that justice -- and morality -- aren't about blindly following a rulebook. Despite the hamfisted way they delivered it, it's a nice way of stating one of Trek's principles directly.

    Data's emotion-spotting:
    - when the orb appears out of the bridge floor, Data looks scared.
    - his un-self-aware babbling isn't quite an emotion, but it's not logical!
  • From The T'Obum Empire on 2023-04-16 at 8:31pm:
    In the beginning Wesley gets told this:

    LIATOR: "Our rules are simple. No one does anything uncomfortable to them."

    He forgot the part where you get the death sentence if you step on the wrong patch of green at the wrong time.
  • From Chuck the Canuck on 2023-05-19 at 4:27pm:
    Liator, the male Edo leader, responds to the Away Team with dripping sarcasm about how backward their justice system is compared to the Federation's. But take away the sarcasm, and his words are correct. They're in pretty desperate need of some social evolution on this. You would think living in such a leisurely paradise of society is an appealing enough reason not to break the law. Are the Edo so prone to violence or crime that the only way to enforce this idyllic society is to execute even those in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    More interesting to me was the ship, city, being, or whatever you want to call it in orbit of the planet. After being contacted by it, Data speculates they have accepted their role as a deity for the Edo at this stage of their development. Perhaps they even planted the Edo there. What's the backstory on this, and did it happen before or after the Edo became...the Edo?

    In the end, all this episode does is contribute to TNG's gradual chipping away at the logic of the Prime Directive. By the end of the series, it will be in tatters.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x09 - The Battle

Originally Aired: 1987-11-16

Picard encounters his old ship, the Stargazer. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.7

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 34 1 6 9 20 20 28 22 23 2 6

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This episode shows the oft-mentioned but never seen elsewhere Stargazer. Seeing it is not essential continuity, but it's kinda nice to have texture. This episode is also a prerequisite to watching TNG: Bloodlines, but since that episode is filler, that doesn't heighten this episode's essentiality much. But definitely watch this episode first if you plan to watch TNG: Bloodlines.


- According to Beverly, the common cold has been cured. Also because the brain has been fully mapped, headaches are rare and typically symptomatic of a deeper issue that can be traced and cured.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker labeling Data as "second hand" merchandise.
- Kazago: "As you humans say, I'm all ears."
- Wesley finds the answer to Picard being mind controlled and receives no gratitude! Hilarious.
- Kazago informing Riker that he's relieved Bok of his command.

My Review
This is a fun exploration of Picard's past. It's always nice to see another side of Starfleet and to get a good look at another class of starship, this time the Constellation class. In a nice bit of attention to detail, the Stargazer's design was a smooth transitional mishmash of design elements from the TOS films and the current TNG designs. Likewise Riker and Kazago play off each other quite well. The rapport that the two first officers seemed to innately share with each other was most satisfying; a nice counterpoint to the conflict between Bok and Picard.

What worked less well was the pacing. While this episode isn't as poorly paced as some earlier ones this season, it would have been far more interesting if such a large percentage of it wasn't dedicated to the buildup to Picard's mind controlled abduction. This unusually prolonged exposition was exacerbated by Picard and Beverly repeatedly discussing his headaches but spinning their wheels on getting to the bottom of it. We could've done with fewer of those scenes.

A better story would have gone into more depth about Picard's time on the Stargazer, perhaps giving us more direct flashbacks and fleshing out the other officers aboard that we see only briefly. If they wanted to go for all the marbles, they could've found a way to work in a scene depicting the death of Wesley's father while Picard was struggling with his guilt over mistakes of the past more generally. It also would've been nice if Picard had had more direct conflict with Bok rather than all this cloak and dagger stuff.

By the end, Bok's character was never quite properly fleshed out, nor his motives all that well thought out. Indeed, his first officer quite effortlessly deposes him for that reason. There are other wrinkles in the story too. It's not entirely clear why the Ferengi from The Last Outpost were unreadable by Troi's empath powers while Bok's mind was totally open to her. Moreover, it's never established why the Stargazer survived the battle. Why would anybody abandon a perfectly good starship? Did Picard mistakenly assess it as unsalvageable or something? This should've been more explicitly explained.

All things considered though this is one of the strongest episodes of TNG so far.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 7:29pm:
    Changed Premise: Troi senses "considerable deception on Bok's part and danger." In future episodes, Betazoids cannot sense Ferengi thoughts.

    - Why didn't Picard set the autodestruct sequence on the Staegazer? Why did he abandon it and just let it drift through space for anyone to discover?
    - While Data figures out a defense for the Picard Maneuver, he says, "... a vessel in the Picard Maneuver might seem to disappear ..." The vessel doesn't seem to disappear, it seems to be in two places at once!
    - Why didn't Riker grab the Stargazer with a tractor beam before it flew off? He had plenty of time!! A lot happens from the time Riker finds out Picard is under some kind of mental control to when the Stargazer flys out of tractor beam range (including a very very long speech by Bok)
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-16 at 10:36pm:
    I think this is a pretty decent first season offering, I only wish they had done more on Picard and his Stargazer days later on in the series. The pityfully one dimensional ferengi 'bad guy' does nothing to help this episode though...

    They (the series producers) seemed very eager to bring in the new race, the ferengi, but this is the second occasion when they just failed to give them any real character. Oh well, give it six years and we can watch them come into their own in DS9.
  • From tigertooth on 2011-02-17 at 2:37pm:
    It seemed to me that they gave away the mind control thing to the audience way too early. Would have been better if Picard had no trouble before the Stargazer came around, but then started acting erratically. One could interpret that as him being afraid of his past.

    Data discovers that Picard attempted to tamper the logs on the Stargazer, and finds the log that says he destroyed a defenseless vessel. This causes the crew to suspect Picard, and Picard to suspect himself -- and the audience doesn't yet know the true answer. We later learn the false log got there because, instead of the Ferengis faking the log, Bok mind-controlled Picard into re-recording it.

    Also it would have been nice if when we were in Picard's Stargazer cabin, he found some things he left behind and reminisced on them -- fleshing out more history. But instead we just got another "Ow, my head!" scene.

    It might have been nice if the aliens involved in this story weren't Ferengi. Especially at this point, they were so clearly "bad guys" that there's no way to establish doubt (Kazago's last action did show another side of the Ferengi, but it was too late to help this episode). Maybe it could have been some alien species with some degree of mental powers in order to help explain the mind control device.
  • From g@g on 2012-02-06 at 2:50am:
    More problems:

    1) How did Riker know Picard took his phaser with him on the Stargazer? For that matter, *why* did Picard have his phaser? He was last reported "resting," hardly a good reason to be armed, - although that might have been some kind of ruse. Still, Picard's movements before he transported were controlled by Bok's "thoughtmaker," and Bok would hardly want to make his job more difficult by arming Picard... Neither the fact that Picard was armed or that Riker somehow knew about it makes any real sense.

    2)Beverly makes some odd statements. First of all, she says that cases of headache have been rare ever since the "brain has been charted." The thing is, and I know this from personal experience, many if not most headaches have very little to do with the brain.-They're a result of muscular tension, either in the actual face and scalp muscles (like the Temporalis), or more likely in the neck and shoulder muscles, especially the Sternocleidomastoid, the Scalenes, and the Trapezius. So long as human beings rely on these amazing but fault-prone sinewy tissues for movement, there will, at best, be occasional cases of headaches. The only one on board who is actually immune is Data.

    retty cool episode. Esp. liked the human-farengi first officer connection here.
  • From Daimon Obumtarr on 2023-04-17 at 5:02pm:
    When they are in the ready room while talking about the forgery, Beverly barges in and addresses Riker as ""Number One".
    Isn't that weird?

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Star Trek TNG - 1x10 - Hide and Q

Originally Aired: 1987-11-23

Q invites Riker to join the Continuum. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.86

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 6 2 5 17 24 21 30 42 12 8

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Lots of exposition about Q here that is important in later episodes.

- Picard refers to the "Sigma Three solar system." This is a common error. The term he was looking for is planetary system. The planetary system we live in is called the Solar System because our star is named Sol. As such, the term "Solar System" is a proper noun, not a generic term.

- A line from Q implies that the Federation defeated the Klingon Empire in a war at some point.

Remarkable Scenes
- Q: "Your species is always suffering and dying."
- Q calling Worf "macro head with a micro brain."
- Q and Picard quoting Shakespeare.
- Worf regarding the "French" soldiers: "More like vicious animal things."
- Q appearing in Data's makeup and costume.
- Worf and Wesley briefly dying, then Riker using the power of the Q to undo it.
- Data casually throwing heavy debris around.
- Riker refusing to resurrect the little girl with the power of Q.
- Picard: "What is this need of yours for costumes, Q? Have you no identity of your own?"
- Worf's reaction to Picard accusing Q of being a "flim-flam man."
- Geordi: "Worf, is that your idea of sex?"
- Picard confirming that yes, Riker should feel like an idiot for everyone refusing his supernatural gifts.

My Review
Here we're given a clearer motivation for why Q is so interested in humans, where he comes from, and what his relationship to the rest of his species is. It seems Q is a renegade of sorts, or at least an oddball among his own people. His fascination with humans might perhaps be his own, as it appears that his people yanked him away just as he attempted to break his word to Picard. The idea that humanity's evolution is uniquely trending towards abilities comparable to the Q and could perhaps some day pose a threat to them is also an intriguing revelation. This certainly explains why Q would be so fascinated by humans and so apparently uninterested in every other species.

Riker's story worked less well. Being so tempted by the power of the Q so easily seemed a bit out of character at times, though it was certainly satisfying to see him get somewhat humiliated at the end of the story. The highlight of the episode—aside from John de Lancie's incredibly entertaining performance as Q of course—was Riker's refusal to use the powers of the Q to save the dead girl. A heart-wrenching moment that demonstrates the spirit of Star Trek in a dark, touching, and necessary way. Picard's insistence that humanity isn't ready to wield the power of the Q shows the Federation is enlightened enough to apply the Prime Directive to itself, not just to others.

A solid episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 11:16pm:
    Main Bridge Design: The big curved railing on the main bridge looks great. Unfortunately, the railing is also very impractical (which is very evident in this episode). The captain sits in front of the railing, while the security people are behind it. To protect Picard, Worf needs to run down the ramp a little ways and then jump over the railing! Not the best layout to ensure the captain's safety.
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-17 at 12:45am:
    TNG does 'where no man has gone before', but for me it's not as good as the original series despite the excellent john de lancie.

    Too many characters are acting out of character, except the consistantly written picard. I love the interaction between him and Q it is delightful as always
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-22 at 3:33am:
    I found this episode too simple-minded. Q wants to corrupt Riker. So he gives him Q powers, then puts his friends in a situation where he has to use his powers to save them. It immediately becomes clear that the Q power has unhinged Riker's mind. Not very sporting of Q, poor Riker never stood a chance. Eventually he decides to give everyone their greatest wishes. But everyone refuses – naturally, since the whole situation is just a big creepy Q game and refusing is the only way to rescue poor Riker's mind. Riker is saved, end of story. No interesting decisions or actions at any point in the story.

    The combat scenes with the animal-things are rather stilted and unnatural, especially the way Wesley runs forward to get killed. On the other hand, maybe this is a positive - it sort of acts as an artistic way to emphasize that the confrontation isn't real, but merely a game concocted by Q.

    On a positive, the scenes that stick in my memory are Q interacting with Riker (rather than Picard), and the "penalty box" scene with Yar, which was unexpected.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 11:05am:
    This episode, as well as TNG: Adventure at Farpoint, further elaborates one of TNG's principle themes: That humanity is evolving into some sort of semi-divine state, similar to the Q Continuim. While very common in new-age metaphysical movements (including Bahai of which Gene Roddenberry was a member) the idea is utter nonsense scientifically.

    All evolutionary processes require a life-and-death struggle, as I have said on other posts. Star Trek TNG completely misses this point, where other Sci Fi fictional works get it perfectly. (Two examples being Dune by Frank Herbert and Dragon's Egg by Robert Forward.)

    While there is some support for the idea of altruism evolving in species (including the human race, see for example The Moral Animal by Robert Wright), all evolution is nonetheless grounded in a brutal, selfish process. That's just the way it is. TNG seems to think that it we all are simply nice to each other and get along, we will evolve into gods. Sorry, folks. Ain't gonna happen.
  • From g@g on 2012-02-05 at 2:39am:
    Early in the episode, when Picard finds himself alone on an unresponsive ship, he yells "Turbolift control, do you read?!"

    "Turbolift control" ? Seriously?

    Can you imagine the kind of log entries they must write in "Turbolift control"? "Today, I heard that Commander Riker gained total control over matter, space, and time - and Captain Picard outwitted the godlike Q. Turbolift 2 is functioning properly, but 3 is running a little slow."

    WTF. "Turbolift" control? The image of a "liftman" is anachronistic even in the 21st century... Yet, somehow, 350 years later, even on the flagship of the Federation we still need someone to run the elevators? So much for that infamous "human compulsion" to grow.
  • From President Obummer on 2021-07-12 at 9:54am:
    Dreamjob Turbolift Control :D

    I thought it was very funny when Data was to describe the scenes with the French Pigsoldiers to Picard and said "you might find it asthetically displeasing". A nice reference to earlier episodes where Data disrespected the French in front of Picard.

    Also, I think this is the episode that most shows why they needed to get rid of Tasha. The scene in the penalty box is so embarrassing, she is just a terrible actress and the charater is super-lame.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x11 - Haven

Originally Aired: 1987-11-30

Lwaxana Troi tells Deanna of her arranged marriage. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 3.73

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 18 12 83 13 19 45 12 16 11 6 5

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- Lwaxana is a recurring character on TNG and DS9 but her appearances are more nice to haves than essential. Watch this episode if you want to follow the Lwaxana arc, but technically no single episode Lwaxana appears in is unskippable.


- Majel Barrett plays Lwaxana Troi in this episode. She was Gene Roddenberry's wife and previously appeared as Number One on TOS: The Cage. She also voices the computer.
- Armin Shimmerman, the gift box in this episode, also played one of the Ferengi in TNG: The Last Outpost and eventually goes on to play a regular Ferengi character on DS9 named Quark. He also guest stars as Quark in both a later episode of TNG and Voyager making him one of very few characters/actors to play in at least one episode in all three series.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.

Remarkable Scenes
- Lwaxana is so wonderfully arrogant.
- Wyatt and Troi discussing Betazoid marriage ceremony compromise.

My Review
This episode has bland plotting that seems to have been strung together from a series of totally unrelated threads. The episode's name is "Haven" and yet we see virtually nothing of the planet nor do we learn anything about its people beyond the fact that they're friends of the Federation. Then we have the Tarellians, an intriguing concept for what could happen to a civilization that employs biological weaponry and can't control the fallout, but we don't get any depth beyond surface details.

The worst and unfortunately most prominent feature of the story is Wyatt being summoned across the vastness of space due to some sort of psychic connection to Ariana. Aside from being yet another lame use of quasi-religious mumbo jumbo as a lazy sci-fi plot device, there is some additional oddness in the story caused by the fact that the only reason Wyatt could confuse the woman of his dreams with a Betazoid to begin with was due to the fact that Betazoids and Tarellians look identical to each other and also once again identical to humans as well.

By now it is quite odd that nobody seems to find it at all strange that so many alien species look exactly like humans. TOS had this problem too, but TNG's continual compounding of it adds layers of ridiculousness. The height of absurdity here is the fact that we can't actually conclude one way or the other whether or not the inhabitants of Haven are human. Is it a human colony not under the jurisdiction of the Federation? Are they a recurrence of one of the countless previous human-like aliens we've seen from past episodes of TOS and now on TNG too? Are they some new alien that also looks exactly like humans? Who knows! There's no way to know.

What does work well here is the drama surrounding Troi's relationship with Riker and Wyatt. Their scenes are all reasonably compelling and it was also nice to see Betazoid culture fleshed out more. Likewise, Troi's mother Lwaxana was certainly a memorable character for better or worse. Had their story been told against a less horribly lazy alien threat backdrop, it would've turned out better.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-29 at 1:47am:
    Data: "Could you please continue the 'petty bickering'?" :)

    - The slow approach of the Tarellian ship ... as the vessel draws closer, the tension increases. Picard calmly waits for the plague ship while the Haven government is going crazy. He even allows the ship to get within transporter range. Why doesn't Picard take the Enterprise out of orbit and meet the incoming ship?
    - For a chameleon rose, it doesn't change colors very much. During the time Troi is holding the rose, she becomes visibly upset and embarrassed, the rose stays white.
    - When we first get to see Ariana on the viewscreen, there is a man to her right, sitting in a chair. The chair is made of several spheres. In future episodes, this chair will be seen in Worf's quarters.
  • From Joey Poole on 2007-07-12 at 2:41pm:
    While I agree with many of the concerns listed in the main review, I have a real soft spot for this episode. Lwaxana Troi is a great character, and this is a good introduction to her. As pure entertainment, this episode works, due mostly to the interaction between Troi, her mother, and Picard. I also like Riker's reaction to the whole marriage business. I view it as one of the "humor" episodes, and one of the best of those at that.

    My only real problem with this episode is the lame, seemingly random connection between Wyatt (who's a bit of douchebag, by the way) and Ariana. Plus, for the dying remanants of a people killed off by an incurable plague, the Tarellians don't seem very sick.
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-19 at 6:20pm:
    I don't treat this episode with too much scorn, it is to me... average.

    The main problem for me is that I do not care about the terellians or wyatt. If you do not care about either of those by the climax of the story then to me the whole build up has been pointless.

    I do however love majel barrett as lwaxana, and also Mr. Homm. Some really funny bits in this one too as Datas role in comedy is used to good effect here as the perfect straight man.
  • From djb on 2008-01-25 at 3:05am:
    It's true that this episode is not one of the best, but what I find absolutely remarkable about it is this dialog:

    Lwaxana: "Now the answer to the puzzle of Arianna and you is so simple, it's too simple for most humans to understand."
    Wyatt: "Too simple."
    Lwaxana: "Of course. It's something they all know instinctively yet go to great effort to reject or build complicated superstitions about. All life, Wyatt, all consciousness, is indissolubly bound together, indeed, it's all part of the same thing."

    I was amazed and extremely pleased to find such a fundamental mystical truth exposed in a relatively agnostic TV show!
  • From thaibites on 2009-08-14 at 2:37am:
    This is one of the worst TNGs I've ever seen. It's one of those episodes where they need to take a break and save some money. Lwaxana is the most unlikeable character in the ST universe. As an American, I've gotten enough bossy, ignorant, demanding white women to last me a lifetime. I certainly don't need it when I just want to be entertained!
  • From CAlexander on 2011-02-20 at 6:18am:
    This episode suffers from a common problem - two plots, one of which you wish they had left out completely. I had no real problem with the wedding plot, it is OK. But the Terellian plot is quite inadequately developed.
    - Totally agree with DSOmo that Picard should have tractored the Terellians long before they reached Haven.
    - No reasonable explanation given for the central point of the episode, the connection between Wyatt and Ariana.
    - No explanation given for why the Terellians appear perfectly healthy. I can explain this (the virus lies dormant until it kills you), but I shouldn't have to, the episode should have done so.
    - It is unclear what the Terellian motivations really were. They make a point of rejecting all communication as they come to infect Haven, then when they are stopped, they start chatting as if they are pleasant people who had done nothing suspicious.
  • From Omcn7 on 2012-01-28 at 6:58pm:
    Ariana? Please stop the hair. I have nightmares about the hair. Wyatt is a moron to want to go with this freak hairdo women. I thought this episode was great for the character development. However, as many have said the plot was sub-par in the least.
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-07 at 7:23am:
    This time, I found this episode oddly entertaining and more interesting than I had anticipated.

    Boy oh boy, has my mind changed on some things, though. I commented here as "djb" (old initials) in 2008 and now I completely disagree with myself. It's not a "mystical truth," it's quasi-spiritual mumbo jumbo! But, then again, the Star Trek universe does have tons of mumbo jumbo in it, so... it's not untrue in-universe, I suppose.

    Putting on my "killjoy feminist" hat for a second: Overall this show is refreshingly not-sexist for the 80s. Hell, there are much later shows that are unwatchable because of the sexism (BBT anyone?). But I like noticing the tiny things that sneak through--not as a "show bad" sort of thing, more of a curiosity. A study of evolving cultural norms, if you will.

    Take Wyatt's commenting more than once on Troi's looks instead of her intelligence, accomplishments, maturity, depth, etc. Or the ridiculous outfit worn by Ariana. Like, don't get me wrong, my lesbian brain is like PRETTY LADY!!1! but her outfit is such obvious pandering and so strikingly unrealistic that it kinda harshes my mellow, as weird as that may seem. Or makes me laugh, depending on my mood. ... Then again, maybe she wanted to look extra nice for the man of her dreams, so she put on her most alluring outfit for him. I'd buy that.
    <takes hat off>

    Data's emotion-spotting: During the reception where the parents fight, Data looks positively amused. Given his "please keep bickering" comment (maybe the best line in the episode), Data seems to be programmed with a rapt interest in petty humanoid conflicts!

    This episode is a must-watch for anyone interested in Riker/Troi's relationship. Here we hear "imzadi" for the first time since the pilot, and find out what it means. I do enjoy their relationship throughout the series. You don't see relationships like theirs on every show, and I think it's handled pretty well.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x12 - The Big Goodbye

Originally Aired: 1988-1-11

Picard and crew are trapped on the holodeck. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.85

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 35 11 5 8 17 18 28 27 20 14 8

Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- While this is the first episode to feature the Dixon Hill holodeck program, watching it is not necessary to understand the context of the program's reuse when it recurs in later episodes.


- This episode won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Costume Design for a Series" and was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Cinematography for a Series."
- This episode won the 1987 George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in television broadcasting. It was the first hour-long production to win a Peabody Award in that category.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard doesn't know what Halloween is.
- Picard's fascination with holodeck detail, such as the cars and his excited ranting about the experience afterward to his senior staff when they're supposed to be having a briefing about their diplomatic mission.
- Everyone reacting to the holodeck so carelessly until they realize things are messed up.
- Beverly swallowing gum.
- Picard with a cigarette.
- Data with a lamp not realizing he unplugged it. When it gets plugged back in for him, the look on his face suggests oblivious self-satisfaction and a belief that he fixed it himself. Hah.
- Picard's last minute performance in insectoid language is fantastic.

My Review
Encounter at Farpoint teased us with the promise of a real holodeck adventure someday and we finally get one here. In many ways this episode feels like a mostly successful rehash of TOS: A Piece of the Action, but the holodeck definitely puts a different spin on it. It was certainly intriguing that the characters in the holonovel were capable of becoming aware of their status as fictional characters, or at least their status as existing in a world that is layered atop another world.

But while that stuff was definitely solid, the episode missed a huge opportunity with the alien subplot. The alien of the week was a pretty unique concept and it's a real shame we didn't get to spend more time with them, or even see them. An insectoid alien (finally an alien that doesn't look like humans!) that has a unique language the universal translator can't deal with? Or perhaps the aliens insist that the universal translator be shut off as a weird gesture of respect? That sounds like a great story by itself, but it was totally an afterthought here.

That said, the enthusiasm the characters had for the fun romp they were having was infectious. As such this episode is pretty good fun to watch.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-30 at 6:41am:
    - The crew works the whole time trying to get the doors open to the holodeck. Does it have some kind of shield or force field? Why can't Picard and the others just be beamed out of the holodeck?
    - Matter created on the holodeck cannot exist outside the holodeck. However, during Picard's first visit, he is kissed by a woman. When he leaves the holodeck and goes to the bridge crew briefing, the lipstick remains. Shouldn't it have evaporated?
  • From Bernard on 2008-09-01 at 8:37pm:
    The very first 'holodeck episode'! Certainly a landmark, but is this what we want to be watching? Star Trek OS used to just do parallel earth episodes to tell this kind of story.

    I would rather have seen one of the other characters being the subject of this episode as Patrick Stewart seems to have had the monopoly on most episodes upto this point.

    Where this one really falls down is the virtually non-existant B plot, so the A plot has to hold our attention...
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-19 at 5:33pm:
    Another problem. Picard is kissed by a woman in the holodeck and has lipstick on his face after leaving the holodeck. Not possible.
  • From Kethinov on 2011-09-20 at 7:18am:
    Not necessarily, Jeff. It's possible the lipstick was real, replicated matter. There has always been speculation for some time that the holodeck combines both photons and forcefields with actual matter produced via replicator technology to enhance the realism. This hypothesis goes a long way toward explaining any number of similar continuity errors across a number of other episodes as well.
  • From g@g on 2012-02-07 at 12:02pm:
    I have to comment on the humour in this episode, which was top notch. Data was maybe a little over the top (although his scene at the very end, esp. Picard's reactions was amusing), but Beverly was pretty much hysterical. As soon as she put on "period dress," everything she did and said had perfect comedic timing.

    A small criticism is that perhaps this entire episode, main plot included, was just a little too funny, a little too light-hearted. Comic relief is good, but it would've been nicely contrasted against something more serious. As it was, with the mysterious "insect species" that never made it on screen, talked with a strange pseudo-Japanese accent about pseudo-Japanese honor and greeting rituals in its funny native tongue... well, it was all a little too much like a parody of itself.

    But I enjoyed it nevertheless.
  • From Bronn on 2012-12-20 at 12:16am:
    Anyone else thing it's weird that this won a Peabody Award for 1987 when it didn't air until 1988? I mean, that's not a typo, and I can understand why things like this sometimes happen, but it sure is awkward.
  • From Dstyle on 2013-08-06 at 5:11pm:
    So if there's a small army of engineers sitting outside the holodeck, desperately trying to get it open and get Picard out, where are they when the doors open and the holograms walk out? And why doesn't Picard hurry out of there to get to the bridge once the doors open?
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-08 at 5:29am:
    The title of this episode always bothered me. "The big goodbye" would be more emotionally weighty if it weren't coming from a barely-developed hologram. Why Picard doesn't just leave and/or try to end the program so he can go attend to other pressing matters -- and instead pauses to have a sentimental moment with a holo-cop I don't find myself caring about ... just weird. An NPC's belabored existential crisis just doesn't seem episode-title-worthy to me. My alternate episode title: "Another World".

    I guess by this point they had not yet established that Data is bulletproof. We know he's super strong; he could have incapacitated and straight-up killed the mobster holograms with little trouble even if they'd gotten any shots off at him. We see a hint of this later when he grabs the last mobster's gun. But all three of them would have been short work for him. (We get to see a bit more of his fighting abilities later this season in "Home Soil".)

    I'm also annoyed that they didn't try a) manually wrenching open the doors, or b) cutting power to the holodeck. They could at least have added some treknobabble saying why they couldn't do those. Lazy writing!

    "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. A Newtonian truism which you have obviously neglected." Fantastic line. Lawrence Tierney was pretty cool as Redblock. He had a lot of great lines.

    Answering Dstyle above, I think the holodeck has multiple exits. You'll notice there was an exit both in Hill's private office and outside the entrance to his lobby. The crew was working outside the other one.

    Data getting into character was pretty funny. He may not experience emotions, but he sure does express them when he's in character!
  • From the obummer on 2021-07-12 at 8:53am:
    I found it fairly annoying how cavalier they treated the history buffs life, the guy who got shot. I mean he is there on the floor taking his last breaths and they take their sweet time even after the doors are open.
    They make some jokes, have Data first beat up the mobster hologram all while the guy is bleeding out and only then slowly carry (!) him to sickbay. And the Doc doesn't even bother to go with him LOL

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Star Trek TNG - 1x13 - Datalore

Originally Aired: 1988-1-18

Data meets his evil twin brother, Lore. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.78

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 65 20 9 4 10 14 25 48 28 29 14

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- Lots of exposition about Data here that is important in later episodes.

- When Riker makes a log entry early in the episode he cites the stardate as 4124.5. This was probably meant to be 41242.5, as Picard's log entry at the start of the episode cited 41242.4.
- When the away team is examining the children's drawings of the crystalline entity, Data's uniform briefly is shown displaying the same rank as Riker. It changes back in the next scene.

- A conversation between Wesley and Data further confirms that the common cold has been eliminated in the 24th century.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data's off switch.
- The helm control tutorial detailing that space is not flat like an ocean and that one can fly up, down, diagonal, etc was a nice touch.
- Lore revealing the truth about his background in Data's quarters.
- A notable use of slang: Geordi: "Captain, I'm picking up a bogey coming in on a five o'clock tangent."
- Dr. Crusher running away on fire after getting phasered.
- Wesley beaming Lore off the ship.

My Review
This episode was a clever, fascinating character piece for Data, a character who up until now has been quite mysterious and unusual. Data was apparently constructed by a famous scientist known as Dr. Noonian Soong who had long promised the invention of a viable positronic brain, a concept originally conceived by science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, who Yar references directly. His work had apparently been long regarded as fruitless because word of the invention of Lore then later Data had not spread beyond his home colony. Dr. Soong had apparently disassembled Lore and began work on replacing him with Data after Lore's behavior turned out to be disruptive, but not before Lore had managed to summon the crystalline entity to wipe out the colonists. Data was left out in the open to be found by Starfleet (specifically the starship Tripoli) some time later while Lore was hidden away so as to do no further harm. At least until Geordi discovered Dr. Soong's secret lab...

In addition to the episode being loaded with wonderful tidbits and details about Data's construction and history, it is simply a pleasure to watch Brent Spiner play both Data and Lore. This take on the evil twin story compares quite favorably with William Shatner's performance in TOS: The Enemy Within, but not everything in the story is as well done. They could've stood to tone down Lore's overwhelming malevolence a bit. Good villains give us compelling reasons to believe why they're the heroes of their own stories, but we don't ever get a clear reason why Lore wanted to please the crystalline entity so much. There may be no reason other than sadistically wanting to destroy the community that rejected him.

Another curious plot point was the obsession with Lore using contractions and Data not using them when in fact we've seen Data use contractions many times before. He said "can't" in Encounter at Farpoint, "that's" in The Naked Now, and "I'm" in several episodes like The Last Outpost and Justice. Data also quite conspicuously uses "I'm" at the end of the episode, perhaps a deliberate choice on the part of the writers to show that Data has become more human as a result of this experience. Regardless of the intent of the writers, the presentation of this plot point is clumsy. It would've been better to simply say that Lore had a stronger, more informal command of language than Data. Not say that Data doesn't use contractions, but that he uses them infrequently because his language is frequently overly formal making him appear more artificial and less human.

Lastly, Picard's treatment of Wesley in this episode was strangely inappropriate, particularly after The Traveler had told Picard that Wesley is unusually smart and perceptive in Where No One Has Gone Before. You'd think people would put more stock in Wesley's intuitions after that or at least hear him out before barking at him to shut up. Overall though this is one of the strongest and most memorable episodes of the season so far.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-30 at 8:41am:
    - Near the end of the episode, Lore goes to a cargo bay and contacts the crystal entity. Lore tells the entity to attack the ship the instant the shields drop (for the beaming out of a tree). Then the fight between Lore and Data occurs. The fight ends when Data tosses Lore onto the transporter pad and Wesley beams him into space. Does the entity care what object beams out? Either way, the shields must drop. Since Lore told the entity to get ready for the beam-out, why doesn't it attack?
    - There have been a few episodes where Data has used a contraction. Like you said above, "it's not a big YATI." However, they spend this entire episode telling us that one of the differences between Lore and Data was that Lore used contractions and Data didn't. At the end of the episode, Picard asks Data if he is all right. Data responds, "Yes, sir. I'M fine."
  • From Bernard on 2008-09-02 at 11:50pm:
    One of my favourite first season episodes, I too love Brent Spiner here and in many episodes. Good insight into his past and into his character.

    You have mentioned above already, but I have to repeat one of the funniest things I have ever heard Geordi say,'Captain I'm picking up a bogey coming in on a five o'clock tangent'... really?? Care to supply co-ordinates? Gets me every time, I love it.
    The scene in the turbolift with Lore and Worf is quite disturbing also.
  • From Jumbo on 2009-08-07 at 5:52am:
    The "Shut up Wesley!" was horribly out of character, but also hilarious. I was laughing so hard I had to pause my DVD when Picard and Beverly yelled at the poor kid. That scene is one of the main reasons I love this episode so much :)
  • From Rubin on 2010-06-28 at 12:12am:
    First thing I noticed was that "Dr. Noonian Soong" sounds an awful lot like "Khan Noonien Singh"...
  • From CAlexander on 2011-02-28 at 2:47am:
    I particularly like the first half of this story, when everything is mysterious and they are learning about Lore. I also like how uncomfortable they are about offending Data, that seemed like a nice human touch.

    You are right about the twitching being annoying and irrelevant. All it does is waste screen time; the story would have unfolded in exactly the same way without it.
  • From Percivale on 2011-11-30 at 5:26pm:
    Many people point out that Picard and Riker's treatment of Wesley was unreasonable. Over the top? Yes. Unreasonable? no.

    Wesley did have a reasonable suspicion. But, if you pay attention, he never actually states this in uncertain terms to his superiors. Instead, he passive-aggressively expresses frustration that everyone else is trusting Data. This is socially unproductive, inefficient behavior in general, but it is universally not accepted in authority-based organizations like Star Fleet.

    I would say that this is a refreshing instance where the writers understood how healthy, authority-based organizations work. Sadly, the officers' reactions really are over the top, once again demonstrating the writers' notion that setting boundaries is "mean."
  • From g@g on 2012-02-06 at 10:49pm:
    I actually *liked* how Picard yelled at Wesley to shut up. It was uncharacteristic and kind of shocking. What I didn't so much like was how he was still arrogant and unapologetic even after he was proven wrong, at the end.

    But the initial outburst - that whole scene was quite nice. Not only did Picard yell at Wesley, (even though Wes had a valid concern and was being quite polite about it) but he also practically shooed a protesting Beverly off the bridge. It was a subtle demonstration that the master of composure and diplomacy is very very human, and prone to losing it a bit on his own bridge, under special circumstances.*

    * Fair to say that a giant life-consuming crystal thing edging its way into your shields while your second officer is dealing with doppelganger issues certainly qualifies as special...although, relatively speaking, he'll face worse in the future.
  • From Alexander Uziel on 2013-12-15 at 11:15pm:
    Wesley: Have you got a cold?
    Data: A cold what?
    Wesley: It's a disease my mom says people used to get.

    These little bits are scattered throughout the first couple of seasons and they are noteworthy, not simply for the fact that they are flatly contradicted by repeated trek episodes after the second season, but because they highlight the utopian influence of Gene Roddenberry in the writing room. Gene was constantly rewriting scripts in the first season, usually to conform to his more idealistic, utopian philosophy. The writers fought against this and it wasn't until the piller/taylor/moore staff came aboard that this sort of stuff was minimized.

    Also, these exchanges are kind of annoying since they are just so blatant and out of place that it sounds like Roddenberry was preaching to the audience.
  • From tigertooth on 2016-08-08 at 2:24am:
    If Noonien Soong is well known, how was Data in Starfleet for decades without anybody noticing the resemblance? Especially given that Soong was known for working on a positronic brain?

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Star Trek TNG - 1x14 - Angel One

Originally Aired: 1988-1-25

The crew travels to a planet with a matriarchal society. [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 3.15

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 46 22 18 15 22 12 15 11 7 6 3

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- Pretty lame episode with no significant long term continuity.

- The Elected One greets the away team as "representatives of the star fleet Enterprise."
- When Riker and The Elected One are sharing an intimate evening together, a hand reaches out to grab her drink. In the remastered version released in 2012 this was corrected by reframing the shot.
- At the end of the episode they depart at warp 6. But Data timed their departure to the minute assuming they'd leave at maximum warp.


Remarkable Scenes
- Riker submitting to local apparel and refusing to consider it degrading over Troi's and Yar's objections.
- Sick Picard humbly and reluctantly obliging to the doctor's orders.
- Geordi in command and loving it. "Make it so."
- Worf sneezing.
- Riker's martyr speech.
- Data's facial expression when Riker gives him a pat on the shoulder.
- Picard's hoarse voice.

My Review
This is a pretty painful episode to watch for a number of reasons. Once again the aliens shown here are yet another alien race that looks exactly like humans, complete this time with characters who have western names like Ariel and Trent. They were so indistinguishable in fact that when the Enterprise wanted to find the Odin survivors, they had to resort to searching for an element not natural to the Angel One world rather than just using the sensors to find non-human life signs. The distinction that they evolved in such a way that their women are bigger and stronger than their men due presumably to millions of years of matriarchy altering the dynamics of their natural selection process is a reasonably plausible and interesting story idea to explore in an alien civilization, but whatever story potential there was in exploring such a premise was undermined considerably by its sexist portrayal, not unlike what happened in Code of Honor.

Another issue was the muddled portrayal of the Prime Directive. It isn't clear why the Federation maintains any sort of contact with Angel One at all given that it doesn't appear to be a spacefaring civilization. It was stated that the planet's location was strategically important, so perhaps the Federation made an exception to the Prime Directive when establishing diplomatic relations 60+ years ago, similar to what might've gone on in TOS: Friday's Child. But that isn't the only Prime Directive complication here. In contrast to how previous episodes defined the Prime Directive, Data and Riker make a big point about how it apparently only applies to Starfleet personnel, and apparently not to individual Federation citizens. This is a completely nonsensical distinction. A law like that would be as idiotic as if the Indian government passed a law prohibiting contact with the uncontacted North Sentinelese tribe, but only applied the law to agents of the Indian government, excluding ordinary citizens for some reason, which is not the case for fairly obvious reasons.

These wrinkles do much to wreck what is otherwise a fairly fun episode. The virus B plot and the Romulan C plot were both fairly compelling. A better episode would've focused on that exclusively. Plus how can we not be charmed by Geordi in command and loving every minute of it?

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-01 at 3:45am:
    - More matter leaving the holodeck, a snowball hits Picard as he is walking by.
    - When the Enterprise begins to search for the survivors, Picard orders Geordi to break fixed orbit. If the Enterprise is in fixed orbit, it would remain above a given location on the planet's surface. However, the shot before Picard's order shows the planet turning in one direction and the Enterprise flying in another.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-02 at 6:05am:
    I found the acting of the denizens of Angel One, and the shipwreck survivors, to be boring, and I didn't care about any of them. And the side plots weren't interesting at all - they get sick, they get better, they fly away. I was, however, amused by Riker going native, and his ending speech was good.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 12:43pm:
    This is the first episode to feature Riker's propensity to be a manwhore. He has absolutely no compunction about jumping into bed with any reasonably attractive female. Of course, this makes him the stud of TNG, at the expense of Picard who is, in live stock terms, a "shy breeder". I.e., Picard has intimacy issues. Both themes get played out later in future episodes, e.g., TNG: The Game for Riker and TNG: Captain's Holiday.
  • From dubton on 2016-07-24 at 7:28am:
    Having sex while this episode plays in the background is, by far, my greatest fantasy. All criticism, in the interest of diplomatic relations, is forfeit. We have muuuuuuuuch to discuss and set phasers to sttttuuuuhhhhh-unnnnnnnnn
  • From Rick on 2017-02-24 at 1:06am:
    It is my understanding that the Prime Directive does not apply to non-Starfleet personnel. The Federation is all about freedom and equality, so I do not think they would have this overbroad restriction on the liberty of all of their citizens. What right or jurisdiction would the Federation have over the actions of its citizens hundreds of lightyears away on non-Federation planets? None of course.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x15 - 11001001

Originally Aired: 1988-2-1

The Bynars take control of Enterprise. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.69

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 13 1 2 4 14 10 15 31 39 18 24

- This problem is common in many TNG episodes, but I hate how the red alert sound doesn't match the red alert lighting.
- The auto destruct sequence seems overly rigid to be practical. And 5 minutes is too short. Especially when you have to start it from engineering and stop it from the bridge. Fortunately, the system is later changed.
- Why is the computer voice inconsistent in this episode? The Bynars?

- The title of this episode when converted from binary to decimal is actually 201.
- This is the first episode to mention Parises Squares.
- This episode establishes some great and kind of interesting continuity with starfleet rank. The starbase's highest ranking officer is a commander. Picard outranks him as a captain. This is continuous with the DS9 series and other TNG episodes.
- This episode was originally intended to come before The Big Goodbye, which would have been far more appropriate. But oh well. This is acceptable.
- When Data orders the ship to be auto piloted out of the star base, a lot of other reviewers bitched about how they could save half the ship by detaching the saucer. But in less than 4 minutes? I don't think so.
- This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Bynars working aboard the Enterprise.
- Worf taking the Parises Squares game so seriously.
- Riker: "Keep notes. This may be valuable to scholars in the future." Geordi: "Really?" Riker: "Well think about it. A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's got to be worth something in somebody's book."
- Riker playing with the settings of the woman on the holodeck.
- Minuet and Picard talking in French.
- Data "awaiting inspiration."
- Picard and Riker valiantly trying to save the ship.

My Review
Riker's jazz indulgences along with Picard and Riker being seduced by the holodeck was a bit overused in this episode. And I'd have preferred it if we learned more about the Bynars. Still, this episode is a real action packed and highly interesting thriller. The technobabble at the end is annoying, but the episode is still largely entertaining and, well, just good. The greatness of the episode largely overwhelms its minor flaws.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 4:04pm:
    Worf: "If winning is not important, then, Commander, why keep score?" :)

    - The Bynars were planning on abducting Riker, not Picard. Minuet says to Picard at one point, "your being here was just a fortunate happenstance." But when Riker started downloading the information, he couldn't do it alone. It took both him and Picard to get the transfer started. It took two people to reactivate their computer, and the Bynars only arranged for Riker to stay?? If Picard hadn't "happened" along, everyone on their home world would have died.
    - The autodestruct clock is composed of LEDs. It looks "out of place" on the Enterprise.
    - When Picard and Riker try to board a turbolift, a sign flashes, "Access Denied." But the computer voice says, "Bridge Access Denied." How does the computer know that they wanted to go to the bridge?
  • From djb on 2007-12-13 at 9:11pm:
    Continuity error: In this episode, when Picard and Riker initiate the auto-destruct sequence, they agree that there is only one option for time: five minutes. In episode 2x02, they both initiate the auto-destruct sequence again, and are given an option of how long before it detonates, and choose 20 minutes. Was this feature upgraded at some point?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-03 at 9:38pm:
    I really like this episode.
    - When I first watched the episode, I thought it was a cool concept that the Bynars somehow made Minuet transcend the normal holodeck limitations and become something Picard and Riker had never experienced before.
    - This is the most believable "take over the Enterprise" plan I can remember seeing; it wasn't one of those plans that a 10-year old child could see through and defeat.
    - I generally liked the execution of the evacuation and the retaking of the bridge; they didn't feel overplayed or underplayed.
    - I especially liked how they didn't feel compelled to use the cliche of having the self destruct dramatically count down until the last possible second before being switched off.
  • From g@g on 2012-02-07 at 1:30pm:
    Altogether great episode. The whole docking triumphantly at the starbase thing sets up some great contrast for the ship later being hijacked and warping away, while the crew watches on helplessly, and its captain and commanding officer begin to awaken from an elaborate ruse.

    Also, I noticed some excellent subtleties, which I have to assume were intentional. At about 31 minutes, Riker and Picard walk *in perfect lockstep* to the weapons room (I mean that literally), to discuss their "absolute agreement" about setting the self-destruct sequence. That's just excellent.

    A few minutes later, at 34:50, as they're about to beam onto the bridge they simultaneously take a deep breath and lower their shoulders. Again, a nice touch (this one may or may not have actually been choreographed) that emphasizes the synchronized two-man command/crew/fighting machine they've now become.

    And, of course, it takes both of them working simultaneously, as a pair, to access the Bynars filesystem. I hadn't quite realized just how neatly all of that fits together...

    So, good episode.

    PS Minuet is fascinating - a hint at future highly sophisticated holographic life (the Doctor and other "photonics" in Voyager, or that whole holographic village in DS9).

    PPS Riker is enjoyably irreverent and sort of piggish in the beginning (calling Jeordi blind, telling the computer Blondes and Jazz don't mix, and instructing it to make the girl "more sultry,"). I think I like this rough-edged Riker of the early seasons...

    Good stuff all 'round.
  • From John on 2012-03-05 at 2:42am:
    While the second half of this episode is quite good, the first half, nearly all of which consists of introducing Minuet, is incredibly boring.

    On re-watching it, I found myself skipping the first half entirely.

    4/5, because only half of it is worth watching, and the half that is is good but not great.
  • From Rick on 2014-07-27 at 4:02am:
    To DSomo:

    Your first problem is not entirely accurate. You state that Minuet's comment that Picard being a fortunate happenstance means that the Bynars didnt contemplate the fact that they needed Picard and Riker. You misinterpret Minuet's comment though. The Bynars noticed Riker taking an interest in Minuet so they used her as a distraction to keep Riker. The Bynars would have then looked for a different way to distract Picard but it was "fortunate" (as Minuet said) that Picard fell prey to the same distraction. I hope this clears up your confusion.

  • From lordcheeto on 2017-07-11 at 4:43am:
    11001001 is binary for the ASCII letter 'I'.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x16 - Too Short a Season

Originally Aired: 1988-2-8

The crew encounters legendary negotiator Mark Jameson. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.05

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 14 23 20 12 15 7 13 15 8 10 4

- Why didn't Riker object to Picard going down with the Admiral? At least he seemed moody about it... And at least he almost barely kinda tried to question it the second time Picard beamed down...


Remarkable Scenes
- The Admiral's wife's Jealousy yet her contradictory desire NOT to acquire her husband's newfound youth is so perfect.
- The Admiral's "interpretation" of the Prime Directive is great.
- Data: "Their phasers sir, they're set to kill." Picard: "Thank you Mr. Data, I have heard that sound before."

My Review
A most unremarkable and dull episode. The one-two combo of an annoying guest and the total lack of a secondary plot makes the episode seem to drag. In much the same way of many bad original series episodes, this episode takes itself way too seriously which further makes it unpalatable. I feel like the whole time I'm watching the episode, I'm supposed to care about it far more than I do, which detracts from the experience even more. Beyond that, the usual round of cliches. An alien race that looks exactly like humans and a high ranking starfleet official does something stupid. Quite a stinker.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 6:42pm:
    - A bridge crew can relieve the captain if they unanimously agree that the captain is acting oddly. Also, a doctor can relieve the captain if the doctor thinks the captain is medically unfit for command. Shouldn't the same thing apply to mission commanders? Picard finds out that Jameson: 1) took double the recommended dosage of an alien drug 2) confesses to a direct violation of the Prime Directive (giving weapons) 3) proposes a raid that Picard thinks is questionable. Yet, Picard acts like he has no other recourse but to obey.
    - the drug is "radically changing the cellular structure of his body and rewriting his DNA." Doesn't it seem likely that the drug would also wipe out the scar tissue in Jameson's body?
    - The transporter pad certainly isn't wheelchair-accessible. Jameson, who is confined to a futuristic wheelchair, is beemed on to the transporter pad. How does he get off the pad?
    - When Picard and Riker leaves the bridge to greet Jameson, look very carefully, Picard contorts his entire face just before he enters the turbolift (an outtake??)
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-20 at 6:10pm:
    The Admiral's wife (we never learn her name) had some of the worst acting and most annoying dialog in Star Trek history. The Admiral is plagued with advanced Iverson's disease, a degenerative, incurable and terminal disease that rob it's victim of quality of life before it kills him. The Admiral finds a potential cure that incidental makes him young while saving his life. Is his wife pleased? Not at all. Why? Because she wants to spend more time with husband (while watching him die horribly). It stretches credulity.
  • From Inga on 2011-12-21 at 11:12am:
    Jeff, the Admiral's wife's name is Anne. She was called by her name a couple of times in the episode and at the very end, just before he died, the Admiral called her "Annie with the golden hair"
  • From John on 2012-03-05 at 4:03am:
    I think maybe what Jeff meant was that we learn her name, but we don't care enough to remember it, because this episode sucks.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x17 - When The Bough Breaks

Originally Aired: 1988-2-15

Wesley and the other Enterprise children are kidnapped. [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 3.2

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 43 18 12 18 9 17 24 4 4 6 3


- Little kids are expected to have a "basic understanding of Calculus" in the 24th century.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard making up regulations on the spot and Data realizing it.
- Picard: "Data, find a way to defeat that shield." Data: "That may be impossible, sir." Picard: "Things are only impossible until they're not!" Data: "Yes sir." Then data gets this wonderfully puzzled look on his face.
- The various Picard-being-tortured-by-contact-with-children scenes.

My Review
Another identical-to-humans race. Somehow the children the Aldeans stole are going to continue their society. Obviously not genetically. So Aldea is to become a paradise for humans then in a few generations? The guest cast parents were overacting badly. Thankfully their screen time was short. And Raschala demands to keep the little girl? So much for their species being humble and non-greedy. Also, usually Wil Wheaton was great at playing Wesley, but he didn't do so well in this episode. Who knows, maybe the directing sucked or the guest cast/children were causing him issues. Wesley is actually pretty good usually. Some of the logic behind how the ozone atmosphere layer connects to the cloaking shield is a bit fuzzy, but acceptable with some liberal interpretation. My problem with this episode is mostly due to the premise. The method by which the premise played out was simply the nail in the coffin. Cliches, bad guest acting, idiotic aliens, and even a regular character did a bad job.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-02 at 8:03pm:
    - The Aldeans take only seven children. Will seven children be enough to continue a society?
    - How come everybody's got a cloaking device except the Federation? The Klingons, the Romulans, and now the Aldeans.
    - The Aldeans shield is capable of protecting and cloaking their planet. This isn't a spaceship. This is a planet. What about the gravitational displacement caused by the planet's mass? Scientists should have been able to calculate the existence of Aldea based on the gravitation disturbances caused by its orbit around its sun.
  • From The Professor on 2007-09-08 at 6:05pm:
    Seven people is certainly enough to maintain a society. Skipper, Gilligan, Professor, Mr. & Mrs. Howell, Ginger, and Mary Ann. The only other things you need are some monkeys, coconuts, bananas and the occasional visitor with a boat or an aircraft.
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2008-09-20 at 4:45am:
    This is one of the better "children" episodes in Trek. Just watch Miri from the original series and you'll see what I mean. Which episode would you want to live out in real life?

    As far as the comment about the Federation not having a cloaking device, that is because the Federation refuses to use one. They see cloaking devices as being most useful for sneak attacks, not exactly part of the Federation's mission. They also want to appear with openess open, not hidden and deceptful, to other planets. Of course, there are exceptions.
  • From thaibites on 2009-09-13 at 2:14am:
    I thought this was one of the better episodes. If you have kids, you'll be able to identify with it.
    As far as this being "another identical-to-humans race", what do you want? How about a bunch of Star Wars muppets that look silly and detract from the seriousness of this episode? Maybe they could've been like the lizard man in the TOS episode THE ARENA. Then the kids could just run around terrified and screaming. If you can't relate to someone's child being stolen, then you mustn't have much humanity. Maybe a little less computer time and more time interacting face-to-face with real humans would help...
  • From geld verdienen on 2009-09-20 at 4:31pm:
    what annoyed me most about this episode is that I was screaming the whole time GET THEM SOME OTHER KIDS, dont they have foster kids or poor people in the galaxy anymore? Tasha said otherwise. The must be millions you would embrace living it up on that planet.
  • From Cal on 2017-02-06 at 11:24am:
    The peace Treaty with the Romulans (Treaty of Alegeron) forbids the use and development of cloaking devices by the Federation.
  • From Maggi on 2020-01-16 at 2:19pm:
    Strongly disagree with this one, this is one of the best episodes of S1 for me. I thoroughly enjoyed nearly all of it.
    Just as another reader already commented, it seems like utter nonsense that they don't even mention the idea of asking foster children if they would want to live there. Picard was way too "absolutely denying" and ultimately caused this to escalate since the Aldeans felt like they had no other options.

    Also I get that all the alien species looking like humans is bleh but c'mon its easy to accept under budget restrictions, etc. Feels like you have a base negative attitude towards every episode that has human looking alien.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x18 - Home Soil

Originally Aired: 1988-2-22

Data and Geordi discover a "microbrain." [DVD]

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 5.19

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 11 5 9 25 14 24 14 12 12 23 6

- Apparently, unlike TNG: The Naked Now, nobody bothered to do a historical lookup, as everyone seems surprised at the idea of non-organic life even though silicon-based life was featured prominently in TOS: The Devil in the Dark.

- This episode establishes (implicitly) that the Genesis device was ultimately a failure, as traditional terraforming techniques are used.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data dodging and eventually destroying the drilling laser.
- Worf, facing Geordi: "But is it alive?" Computer: "Probability high." Worf, facing computer terminal: "I wasn't asking you."
- The aliens referring to the crew of the Enterprise as "ugly bags of mostly water."

My Review
This episode, like the previous one, but less so, is dull and annoying. Plot-wise, it's fairly average, but some remarkable oversights drag this episode down a bit. Firstly, in an episode all about terraforming, I would have wanted to see some information about the Genesis device presented in this episode. Even though it was probably declared a failure and disregarded, for continuity's sake it would have been interesting to see it talked about. This is not necessarily a technical problem; it makes sense that the details concerning the events surrounding the testing and use of the Genesis device were probably classified and buried after the events of the original series films. More annoying is how surprised everyone was acting regarding inorganic life. Clearly the events of TOS: The Devil in the Dark are not classified. That episode should most definitely have been referenced. Beyond this, there is little to distinguish this episode. The acting of the guests was of unusually high quality and the overall idea behind the episode was interesting, if rehashed. However I tend to prefer TOS' version of this episode far more. The inorganic aliens of this episode, when they finally got a chance to play a role, weren't that interesting and I found the monotone translations of the universal translator unnecessary. Overall, this episode largely failed to live up to its potential.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 5:52am:
    - Removing water from the crystal life form kills it. There is no salt water in the med lab. Shouldn't it have died as soon as it left the planet?
    - The woman terraformer told the away team that the planet has a balanced day and night. How does the crystal survive on the surface of the planet at night?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-06 at 11:09pm:
    Until the discovery of the microbrain, this episode was great. But I totally agree with you, I was annoyed by the lack of continuity. It wasn't just that they were surprised by the inorganic lifeforms, but they kept repeating over and over how unbelievable it was. And it wasn't just the Horta they were ignoring, but a long history of energy-based lifeforms. "Lonely Among Us", in the same season, featured a life form more alien then this; if it isn't even composed of matter, it certainly isn't organic! Equally annoying is that the technobabble about the capabilities and limitations of the organism is full of inconsistencies, such as those noted by DSOmo.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-19 at 11:46pm:
    Huge science problem. Geordi states that the light pulses from the microbrain consist of "positively and negatively charged ions". Light consists of photons. Ions are made from normal matter. Light cannot consist of ions.
  • From Inga on 2011-12-23 at 1:48pm:
    -Why didn't Geordi switch off the power when Data was attacked by that laser drill?
    -Why did everyone leave the med lab when the aliens first tried to communicate with them?
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-11 at 5:33pm:
    I'll always appreciate this episode for the phrase "ugly bags of mostly water."

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Star Trek TNG - 1x19 - Coming of Age

Originally Aired: 1988-3-14

Wesley takes the grueling Starfleet Academy entrance exam. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.25

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 21 1 7 9 8 24 22 38 12 13 2

- An expert shuttle pilot candidate steals a shuttle and immediately plunges it into the planet's atmosphere accidentally? Not sure how credible that is. Sure it could happen, but that's a little sloppy writing.

- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf and Wesley's chat about the testing is great.
- Picard saving Jake by talking him through the shuttle maneuver.
- Wesley's psych test.

My Review
This episode is kind of a mixed bag. First the bad. Both the conspiracy and the starfleet testing in this episode seemed highly unrealistic. But if we set that aside, we've got plenty of good as well. This episode has great continuity with previous episodes regarding Remmick's interrogations. Wesley getting pissed during the test was a little strange. "Do you want this to become violent?" That was a little too far. But acceptable. The best part of the episode is during Remmick's interrogations of various crewmembers in the briefing room. The way they wove the Remmick's questions and the answers of different crewmembers together was great. And Picard is getting noticeably better with children. I liked him with Jake and later with Wesley.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 6:40pm:
    Remmick: "You don't like me, do you?" Worf: "Is it required, sir?"

    - When the shuttle begins heading toward the planet, the bridge crew runs through the options. Yar says he is out of transporter range. People are beaming up and down from the planet. Doesn't it seem reasonable that the Enterprise could beam someone out of a shuttle that sits between it and the planet?
    - After giving his report to Admiral Quinn, Remmick walks to the door - actually he almost runs into it - and then turns. The door doesn't open. For the next few moments, Remmick stands with his back very close to the door. Then, before he even begins to turn, the door opens and Remmick leaves. How did the door know exactly when to open?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-09 at 5:40pm:
    - The entire scene with Jake and the shuttle seemed very forced. The shuttle leaves, then two seconds later, it is beyond tractor and transporter range, even though both it and the Enterprise are next to the planet. That is hard enough to believe by itself. But the Enterprise can move, and is faster than a shuttle, so how can they be so helpless?
    - Wesley's "Do you want this to become violent?" comment was part of the test. He knew he was supposed to act rude towards that species of alien, so that is what he was doing. If he was a bit overboard in his attempts to act discourteous, that fits well with his character of being enthusiastic but young and unpolished.
    - Remmick's paranoid questioning was interesting in that he seemed just as irrational to me as to the crew during the episode, but at the end I could see how it might make sense to "be the bad cop" given what he was ordered to do. However his misbehavior during the shuttle incident was not so easily forgiven; is a good Starfleet officer really going to obstruct the crew during a life-or-death situation?
  • From 0mcn on 2012-01-30 at 6:47am:

    No else said it so I will. Finally an alien that looks like an alien. No wonder they were nominated for best makeup. Not only that but part of his costume is a device that helps him breathe (or does something for him) so yes this makes me happy. :)
  • From a2a on 2012-02-08 at 9:09am:
    I thought this episode was excellent. Some major and minor points: 1) Remmick was a great character, especially in light of the episode's resolution and his final attitude towards the enterprise 2) The "invisible" segue's between the interrogations was a nice touch 3) The inside of the academy enrollment process made for a compelling side-plot 4) The unannounced tests were interesting 5) There was an almost kafka-esque scene with Wesley in a dram room with a single chair, supposedly undergoing some mysterious examination he knows nothing about... and for a little while nothing else happening. Just him, the chair, an empty room, and undefined anxieties. 6) The music was excellently dramatic throughout (including during the aforementioned scene).

    Problem number 1: Mullet.

    Jake's mullet.

    Mullets will apparently be back in style in the distant future. This is not very likely (and not really a proper problem either).

    Good episode.
  • From Quando on 2014-10-01 at 1:13am:
    This approach to administering the Starfleet Academy entrance exam is idiotic. There are four people taking the exam at this particular starbase, and they have decided in advance that they will accept exactly one candidate - the highest score of the four - regardless of how well or how poorly any of the candidates end up doing. Talk about grading on a curve! What if two of them are geniuses, but one of them scores higher by a single point? Tough luck for the second place genius; it's off to the dilithium mines for you. Likewise, what if all four of them are idiots? Will they go ahead and take the smartest of the four idiots? Why are these four candidates not being compared against all of the other candidates who are applying to Starfleet Academy? This method is like Harvard saying it will admit exactly one candidate each from Galveston, Tampa, Billings, Chicago, etc. I also think it is ridiculous that not only is there only one Starfleet Academy on the whole earth, there is only one in the whole galaxy! So you have highly qualified candidates (probably millions) from the populations of dozens of Federation worlds all competing for one of only a few hundred slots in the next Starfleet Academy freshman class in San Francisco? Given all that, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mordok was deemed the "winner" here because of affirmative action (in a choice between the first ever Benzite in Starfleet and just another white human male, who do you think they are going to take?). I guess it's a good thing that Wesley can just try again at the next starbase and hope for weaker competition.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x20 - Heart of Glory

Originally Aired: 1988-3-21

Klingon fugitives take over the Enterprise. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 6.5

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 6 3 4 5 5 12 25 23 40 14 8

- Why was the commander of the Klingon ship standing in front of a Federation emblem set beside a Klingon emblem?
- When Worf addresses the Klingon commander, if you look up toward the top of the screen, you can see a microphone dangling over his head.

- This is the first Klingon episode in TNG.

Remarkable Scenes
- Seeing through Geordi's eyes was fascinating. I was just as disappointed as Picard when the questioning about Geordi and his VISOR was forced to cease.
- The dialog between Worf and the guest Klingons is great.
- Our first sight of the Klingon death ritual. Data's later explanation of the Klingon death ritual is just as good.
- The Klingons escaping the brig is excellently done.

My Review
The opening was highly thrilling. Especially with Geordi transmitting his visuals and the discovery of the Klingons. The rest of the episode plays out just as well. Only the antagonist Klingons' battle desires are nonsensical. But it doesn't hurt too much. This episode is a real thriller and a first season classic.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 8:31pm:
    When Riker hears that the Enterprise will head toward the Neutral Zone, he suggests that they separate the saucer section. Yet, when the Klingon has a phaser pointed at the dilithium chamber, the Enterprise faces imminent destruction and no one even mentions separating the saucer.
  • From a2a on 2012-02-09 at 6:41am:
    What ever happened to the "least force necessary" ethos? As soon as there are Klingons on board, its as if everyone suddenly forgets that their phasers have a stun setting... Is the thirst for glorious battle really that infectious?

    I can understand why Warf would want to kill the second Klingon (although I don't understand why no one gave him any flak for it, Picard included). But I completely don't understand why the security team clearly had their phasers on some "red hot, burn straight through to the opposite side of Klingon torso" setting. Not only did the first Klingon die because of this, but this recklessness with the phasers directly caused them to lose one of their own crew: during the escape, the second Klingon picks up a Starfleet phaser and shoots and kills a security officer - it was obviously already set to kill.

    What gives? Do we all have a bit of Klingon in us or something?

    In the very beginning, before the away team beams to the freighter, Riker instructs, "Set phasers to stun, and lets be ready for anything." I guess the stun setting is good enough for anything...anything except Klingons, at which point its OK to crank your boomstick up to maximum, unintended consequences be damned.
  • From Cary on 2016-07-20 at 3:23pm:
    The Klingon commander is standing in front of a Federation emblem next to a Klingon emblem because of the alliance.
  • From tigertooth on 2017-03-11 at 3:53am:
    So Worf shoots the Klingon, the Klingon falls face first... and crashes through the floor? Did I miss something or did that gangway shatter awfully easily?

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Star Trek TNG - 1x21 - The Arsenal of Freedom

Originally Aired: 1988-4-11

The crew investigates the disappearance of the U.S.S. Drake. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.01

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 14 1 7 10 7 11 20 28 29 16 10

- What was holding commander Riker in place? Something had to be actively generating that energy field. Yet they never tried to find the power source.
- Just after Data frees Riker and they're looking for the rest of the away team, another weapon attacks. When Data throws Yar out of danger, Brent Spiner has quite obviously been replaced by a stunt double.
- First Logan bitches about staying, then he bitches about leaving? WTF? OK maybe this isn't a "problem" because lots of people in real life act this hypocritical but it is still however annoying. Why didn't Geordi point out his hypocrisy? Because he was afraid of Logan's superior rank? Who cares about that Geordi, you were in command! Make him look like a fool!
- We have to assume that the Drake was lost with all hands because they never tell us what happens. Not a problem, but definitely a loose thread which the episode should have tied up.

- This is the first of many episodes in which Riker refuses a command (or talks about a refused command) and that refusal incidentally saves his life. Hmm!

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker: "No. The name of my ship is the Lollipop." Paul: "I have no knowledge of that ship." Riker: "It's just been commissioned. It's a good ship." The entire scene is remarkable.
- Notice how the second Riker is incapacitated, Picard takes the opportunity to plunge himself into immediate danger on the planet? Something Riker would certainly object to? The counselor objects, but PIcard doesn't seem to care.
- I liked the scenes with Geordi and Chief Engineer Logan. At first it seemed shallow but it grew on me.
- The scenes with the Doctor coaching Picard on on-the-fly medicine were extremely well done.
- Geordi and Troi's scene together is also well done.
- Riker regarding Data jumping: "Data, it's over ten meters!" Data: "11.75, commander." Yar: "Data, you may be sturdy, but not indestructible!"
- Geordi: "Relinquishing command, captain." Picard: "As you were, lieutenant." Geordi: "Sir?" Picard: "Mr. LaForge, when I left this ship it was in one piece. I would appreciate your returning it to me in the same condition. Do you concur number one?" Riker: "Absolutely, sir."

My Review
Excellent character development of Beverly and Geordi. Excellent performances by everyone. Every character had a good showing and a worthwhile purpose. Even the guests were great except for maybe Chief Engineer Logan. But he was only slightly annoying. (See problems.) One of the best of the first season. I don't like the premise nor the plot so much as I like the execution. This episode is a great example of how a mediocre idea can be made great by a good implementation. A pity that other episodes of this season with great premises couldn't have been better implemented and so exciting.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-04 at 5:36am:
    - After Data removes Riker from the force field, Data mentions that they need to find Picard and Crusher. Since he was encased in the force field, Riker didn't even know Picard was on the planet, let alone lost. Given his belief that captains should stay on their ships, shouldn't Riker be really ticked off when he learns that Picard is on the surface?
    - Picard saves the day when he agrees to buy the weapons system. The demonstration ends and the fourth pod evaporates. So why is La Forge still fighting the pod in orbit? Shouldn't it have evaporated as soon as the demonstration ended?
    - Immediately after destroying the pod, La Forge drops the shields so they can beam the away team back. Isn't the star drive section still flying through the atmosphere? Aren't the shields the only thing keeping the ship from burning up?
  • From djb on 2008-03-17 at 7:14pm:
    I really enjoyed the battle sequence towards the end of this episode. The combination of the action with the music is very effective, and the tension is further increased by Geordi's mixed feelings about commanding the ship. Even though the actual "battle" was not very complicated, it was still quite expertly done, and made for one of the more memorable episodes from Season 1.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-09 at 1:39am:
    Picard's decision to go to the planet is very odd. Normally I don't mind when the captain leads the away time, it is just one of those things you accept about Star Trek. But here my suspension of disbelief was really tested. Picard is told that the situation down on the planet is actively dangerous, and nothing seems to require his personal presence. If there is any time he should stay on the ship, this is it. Yet he beams down without even a security team. The worst part is that Troi reminds us he isn't supposed to be doing this! Yet we never even get an explanation for his actions. Maybe he had a precognitive vision that he needed to beam down and fall in a hole in order to complete the mission.

    Something about the general plotting of the episode wasn't very appealing to me. But you are right, many of the individual scenes are well executed. I love the Lollipop dialogue.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-20 at 2:08pm:
    The weapons were hilariously hokey and poorly done. The shooting was so obviously contrived to hide the booms that were moving them. Realizing this is before CGI, but still. Some of TNG special effects were quite innovative and effective. This episode does not show that, unfortunately. The other issue was that Geordi tolerates far too much from Logan. Its irritating. I have been around the military for much of my life. Logan's behavior was contemptible and would not have been tolerated.
  • From mattymjp on 2013-07-16 at 1:18pm:
    First of all, great website! Am really enjoying reading your reviews, I've decided to start watching TNG from the beginning and your site is helping me to decide which dud episodes to miss (of which there are a few in the first couple of seasons especially)

    Rewatching the first season has been a bit painful so far, it has dated and I'm looking forward to getting onto Season 3 onwards. Some of the acting is awful, although Patrick Steward is ALWAYS good, with Levar Burton and Brent Spiner the other stand-out actors in my opinion. Johnny Frakes does improve as time goes by though.

    I wasn't a fan of this particular episode. Thought it was cheesy and left too many unanswered questions at the end. And they used the exact same shots for the saucer section separating as in Encounter at Farpoint. But it was a good Geordi episode.
  • From the obampresident on 2021-07-13 at 4:19pm:
    Anyone notice that the drones look just like the floating eye robots in the videogames Fallout 1 and 2? Some dev was inspired there.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x22 - Symbiosis

Originally Aired: 1988-4-18

Picard mediates a dispute involving a mysterious drug. [DVD]

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.64

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 17 4 2 23 7 18 22 21 20 18 14

- 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.


Remarkable Scenes
- 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."

My Review
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.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x23 - Skin of Evil

Originally Aired: 1988-4-25

A strange entity taunts the crew with vicious pranks. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.92

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 27 21 22 16 15 22 14 26 10 42 10

- Geordi drops his phaser into the alien slime just after Riker is engulfed.
- The feasibility of the skin of evil alien is questionable.


Remarkable Scenes
- Picard unrelentingly hounding the chief engineer.
- Tasha's death and the subsequent attempts to revive her.
- Notice how the second Riker is incapacitated, Picard takes the opportunity to plunge himself into immediate danger on the planet? (Again?) Something Riker would certainly object to?
- Data under control of the skin of evil.
- Riker all tarred. I bet Jonathan Frakes loved filming that.
- Data's commentary on the funeral.

My Review
This episode is the result of Denise Crosby feeling that her character had become too "Uhura-like," meaning always present but underutilized. This forced the writers to kill off her character abruptly. I'm not opposed to the abrupt death of a main character, however the manner in which Tasha died in this episode was wholly disrespectful. She was quite literally offed by sentient slime without warning, without drama, and without even the narrative focus. The dramatic center of the episode briefly shifts over to Tasha after she's attacked, but with people still in danger on the planet there is no time to grieve. Instead, we're treated to more painfully acted scenes with the evil slime. Then, at the end of the episode, we're treated to a bizarre "play this if I died" recording that Tasha made, complete with up to date commentary regarding everyone in the room! Did she update her personally-written eulogy just before going on every away mission just in case? Quite morbid and unrealistic, just like the alien slime that killed her. The only reason this episode is rated as high as it is is because Tasha's death scenes and funeral (especially ending the episode with the funeral) managed to touch me despite the overall lameness of the episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-05-12 at 2:16am:
    This episode deserves a 7 because it is emotional. Sure, you don't get the typical Hollywood exaggerated death scene where the character has a heroic last stand right before they get hit by a weapon and gets to say some meaningful last words before they silently close their eyes as if they are falling asleep. What do we get instead? We get a cold, gritty, quick, unusual death. That is what a death in Starfleet would be like. The scene in sick bay is dramatic, and the funeral sendoff at the end was top notch. This episode deserves more than what others have given it.
  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-06 at 7:53am:
    Just after Armus engulfs Riker, the rest of the away team runs up to the edge of the "oil slick." When they stop, Geordi's phaser falls out onto the ground. Does this seem like a first-class holster design?
  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-10 at 6:28am:
    I forgot to mention, this episode has one of the worst examples of the "don't give a straight answer" syndrome (see my commentary for Encounter At Farpoint, Part I). Just after Armus rises from his "oil slick," Picard calls down to the away team and says, "What is it, number one? What are you seeing?" Riker responds, "Trouble."
  • From Evan on 2008-05-26 at 12:33pm:
    I absolutely love the "death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others, which is why it is not an end" line.
  • From Thorsten_Wieking on 2008-09-01 at 7:06pm:
    Regarding Tasha's final recording to her friends - I don't think that this is unusual to be that cuurent with events. In one DS9 episode, O'Brian mentions that he just recorded yet another final message for his wife and how many times he has done this before (just like the rest of the senior staff). So maybe Tasha indeed did make those recordings every now and than. After all, she came from a violent planet where death seemed to be the norm and hey - she works security. Remember the approx. lifespan of a red shirt in TOS? Maybe they have a special course at the academy for "To-be" security officers "How to record a touching eulogy about yourself", SCNR just kidding.

  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-23 at 3:51pm:
    I'm not sure what to make of this episode. But I have to say, it really puts the nail in the coffin for the idea that the Captain can't beam down in dangerous situations. Tasha is killed by the monster, Riker is held hostage by it, and Picard then beams down alone so he can chat with the monster face to face!
  • From Jeff Browning  on 2011-10-20 at 1:26pm:
    Hate to be contentious guys, but for me this was one of the worst TNG episodes ever. My main issue is the funeral scene. It's the worst example of TNG being overly sentimental, cloying, and corny that I can think of. Everytime I have watched this episode, I end up cringing.

    The one consololation was that they killed of Tasha Yar, who I found to be one of the most anoying major characters in early TNG. Fortunately, Denise Crosby does much better as a guest character, both in the reboot episode, and later in the two-parter at the end of Season 1 where she plays Tasha Yar's daughter.
  • From mattymjp on 2013-07-20 at 8:51am:
    This is the first season episode I remember the most from when I watched them as a 9 10 year old, for obvious reasons. I especially remember the shot of Riker's face in the oil slick, and that shot still holds up even today!

    Watching this again I was suprised how much I enjoyed it. I thought it was well written, especially the face off between Picard and Oil man. "I'm a skin of evil left here by a race of titans". Great stuff.

    And what happened to Marina Sirtis? Her acting up to this point had been awful, but in this episode she's amazing! Maybe with Denise Crosby leaving she knew she had a chance to increase Troi's screen time and she stepped up her game.
  • From Quando on 2014-09-25 at 5:43am:
    At the beginning of the episode, when chief engineer "Leland T. Lynch" is reinstalling the dilithium crystals to restart the engines he orders them to set the matter/antimatter intermix ratio at "25 to 1." But in the prior episode, Wesley's starfleet acadamy test established that "there is only one possible intermix ratio for matter and antimatter: one to one.". 25 to 1 will blow up the ship. Maybe that's why they fired Leland T. Lynch as chief engineer.
  • From Jake Sisko on 2023-03-09 at 11:38am:
    My father would have sent Garak down there with Odo. Odo to mix with it in a weird way and Garak would bore it with stories that may or may not have been true about the Obsidian Order.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x24 - We'll Always Have Paris

Originally Aired: 1988-5-2

Captain Picard is reunited with an old flame. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.12

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 39 7 5 14 17 31 21 14 9 7 6

- During the multiple Datas scene, one of them says, "It's me!"
- Data says the mad scientist guy's experiments were causing time ripples with a radius of 1000 light years or more, yet nobody seems concerned about the implications of such a thing being true.

- For some reason, Denise Crosby is still credited as Tasha Yar for the rest of the season, despite her death in the prior episode. I guess they couldn't be bothered to alter the opening credits.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard's fencing match in the beginning.
- Picard: "Enough of this self-indulgence." Regarding his time on the holodeck.
- Picard's strange behavior on the bridge when he reaches his old girlfriend before anyone else know just who's down there.
- Picard, Data, and Riker meeting themselves from 5 seconds ago is awesome.
- Picard confronting his lost love regarding their unfinished business.
- Beverly fantasizing about Picard.
- Data navigating the obstacle course lab.
- Data talking to his three selves.

My Review
What this episode lacks in its attempts to be profound it makes up for in being a great character story for Picard with a wonderful action sequence for Data. Even by now, stories about characters being reunited with "old flames" are becoming something of a cliche on Star Trek. It's not necessarily unrealistic that in the course of scampering across the galaxy that some of the characters would meet up with people they used to spend a lot of time with, but at the same time it strikes me as a somewhat unimaginative way to force character development out of an episode. I can't help but roll my eyes and say "oh, of course there's somebody Picard used to know on that planet!" Despite this, the episode was solid and entertaining, if a bit unrealistic at times.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-07 at 6:34am:
    - When the Enterprise receives the first distress call from Dr. Manheim, he gives only two coordinates to his location. How were they able to travel to the correct location? Three coordinates are needed for three-dimensional space.
    - Jenice tells Picard she waited for him all day. She also comments that it was raining. Their rendezvous was at an open-air cafe! Did Jenice sit in the rain all day and wait for Picard?
    - During the time rift, the multiple Datas question each other as to who is in the correct position. The middle Data says, "It's me!" In addition to the fact Data cannot use contractions, Data's response is also bad grammar. The correct response should be, "It is I!"
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-14 at 5:16pm:
    The character development was amusing to watch. The other plot was too perfunctory, with unnecessarily huge implications that were ignored.

    At the end, Dr. Mannheim asks to return to the research lab, and Picard says OK. I was flabbergasted. They should be hauling him off to prison for Reckless Endangerment of the Galaxy!

    @DSOmo: I notice the rain issue as well, but I assumed the cafe was open-air from the sides, not from the top. I don't think the camera ever panned up to show whether or not there was a roof or canopy above them.
  • From Percivale on 2011-12-06 at 4:17pm:
    I think the real mistake was deciding that Data wouldn't be able to use contractions. It makes no sense other than to make Data more identifiable as an automaton - which they try so hard to disprove throughout the series - and they obviously couldn't keep up with their own rule.
  • From 0ne mooner on 2012-02-18 at 5:31am:

    In which Data gets to be a hero. Win!

    The guest star who plays the prof also plays Sigmund Frued on Bill and Ted's excellent adventure.

    If riker is to buy a round at the blue parrot how is he to do this? I thought currency in the federation was obsolete?
  • From mattymjp on 2013-07-21 at 7:05am:
    Some interesting outfits worn by the female guest stars in this episode. That is all I have to say!
  • From Dr. Paul Obumheim on 2023-04-21 at 7:53am:
    The scene at the lift where they meet themselves is fantastic, I love it.
    Great episode, could have done without the Cafe scenes.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x25 - Conspiracy

Originally Aired: 1988-5-9

Picard suspects conspiracy in Starfleet. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 6.05

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 24 9 7 9 41 19 12 33 39 24 44

- Riker orders Geordi to increase speed to warp 6. Geordi responds with, "Aye sir, full impulse."
- Picard takes Riker into the transporter room alone to talk to him in private, yet when Picard yells "Energize!" it isn't Riker who beams him down. We don't see who or what did it so was it the computer? If so, why do we always see people operating the transporter? If it wasn't the computer, then some random transporter operator just heard all this classified information. Either way you spin it it's still a plot hole.
- Why would the aliens need to send a signal to their homeland at all? Clearly, they knew where the Federation was in the first place, as they orchestrated a conspiracy to take it over.

- This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data attempting to laugh.
- Data: "One can swim in moonlight?"
- Worf: "Swimming is too much like bathing." Apparently Worf hates being clean.
- Data: "In a manner of speaking, it is nothing but a lifeless hunk of rock. A useless ball of mud. A worthless chunk of--" Riker: "Thank you Data."
- Picard: "Relay those coordinates to the transporter room. I'm beaming down." Riker: "Alone, captain?" Picard: "Alone, number one!" Picard didn't want to hear any crap from Riker today! Way to assert yourself Picard!
- Data talking to himself and the computer interrupting his rambling much like Riker did earlier.
- Quinn kicking Riker's ass and laughing at unbelievable blows he receives.
- Riker and Picard shoot the last admiral in the ass at once point!
- Remmick's death was so wonderfully gory.

My Review
This episode features nice continuity with TNG: Coming of Age and a valued look into a bit of the rest of the Federation. We get to meet three other starship captains and we get to see Earth as it exists in this century for the first time. Besides this novelty there is little else to redeem this episode. The actual plot is painful to watch, as conspiracy plots usually are. Regardless of the fact that this conspiracy does indeed pan out, I almost would rather it didn't as the level of gory shock value in this episode is too much, with the maggot eating scene stepping a bit over the line. I did enjoy the interesting humor at the beginning of the episode, with lines like "one can swim in moonlight?" and "swimming is too much like bathing" becoming absolute classic quotes in my opinion. However, again, aside from simple trivia, I find this episode nowhere near as profound as it tries to be and the apparent risk of the parasites some day mounting a full scale invasion at the end distinctly not menacing.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From a on 2006-09-07 at 3:43pm:
    according to

    [did you know]...that the original version of the script for Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Conspiracy" did not feature alien parasites? The 'conspiracy' in question was simply a military coup within Starfleet, but Gene Roddenberry vehemently opposed such an idea, since he believed Starfleet would never stoop to such methods; thus the alien angle was introduced at his insistence.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-08 at 8:29am:
    - During the "Code 47" transmission, Keel tells Picard to trust no one. Later, after their covert meeting on the planet, Keel says, "This meeting never took place as far as Starfleet is concerned." Then, just as Picard is leaving, Keel says, "Tell Beverly 'hello' for me." How is he supposed to tell Dr. Crusher that he saw Keel if the meeting never happened and he isn't supposed to trust anyone?
    - When Riker is attacked by Admiral Quinn, Riker calls Security. In the next scene, Geordi and Worf are running down the corridor. What happened to the rest of the security force? I realize that "extras" cost money, but sending both Worf and La Forge from the bridge is a bit much.
    - When Data reviews all Starfleet command decisions for the past six months, the information rapidly flashes across his display screen. One of the graphics shown is a parrot! What does a parrot have to do with command decisions?
  • From thaibites on 2009-12-03 at 1:49am:
    Don't listen to the lame review on this one. This episode rocks! Finally, a 1st season episode with some testicles.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-13 at 2:52pm:
    - The idea of an alien conspiracy was interesting, but really suffered from compression into one episode. Imagine how much a show with more continuity, such as DS9, could have done with this concept!
    - Perhaps this is why the aliens seem rather inept. Quinn beams over alone, then decides to have fun beating up Riker in hand-to-hand combat. He should have known Riker would call security; in fact, Riker is rather tardy about doing so. Basically, the Enterprise crew don't do anything clever, Quinn/Alien just hands them the victory on a silver platter. And the other aliens aren't much better.
    - DSOmo's comments are spot-on as far as Keel's comment and the security team are concerned. It was just silly when the "security team" consists of Worf and Geordi. Geordi?
  • From Nicolas on 2011-03-28 at 8:43am:
    Why can't Data simply download the information instead of having to painstakingly read it on the computer screen?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-07 at 3:57pm:
    Response to Nicolas: This is consistent with many other episodes. Data doesn’t have the ability to download data directly from the computer. His positronic brain is a unique technology quite different from that used by the Enterprise computers.
  • From rpeh on 2011-06-03 at 8:42am:
    This is a good episode with one or two wrinkles, the main one being the awful acting by most of the support cast. It's also pretty clear that money was running out, hence the lack of extras in the Enterprise security team and in Star Fleet HQ. It really detracts from the believability when the captain of the fleet's flagship is greeted by a total of four or five people.

    I don't understand the comments in the main review about the conspiracy. I thought it was fairly well done, and I imagine we would have seen the parasites again had somebody not come up with the idea of The Borg.
  • From a2a on 2012-02-12 at 11:53pm:
    Wow. This was a rather shocking episode. There were quite a few uncharacteristic elements - not bad, not necessarily great, just rather surprising. I'm thinking here of the utter GORE, SHOCK and AWE, when Picard and Riker *violently decapitate* an investigator from Starfleet's inspector general's office. I did not see that coming.

    As Picard himself admits, it was counter-intuitive and uncharacteristic for him. I don't know that I entirely agree that it was absolutely necessary (they didn't really *try* anything else, just went for the exploding head approach), but at the same time, I'm not prone to complain about or question the decision. I mean, somehow, in the strangeness of this episode, it seems appropriate. These was a rather insidious threat and the solution was rather ballsy...and apparently successful...

    Though here we're left with a bit of a question mark and the eerie soundtrack playing over the credits. This is another uncharacteristic aspect for Star Trek - an ominous cliffhanger... This like a number of other things about this episode reminds one of a Hollywood horror flick rather than the show we're used to...

    (The worms dinner scene and some of the writing in general is also sort of Hollywood, or almost Stephen King or I mentioned, this is not necessarily good or bad, its just different and surprising, and I commend the writers for mixing it up a bit.)

    I must also commend the special effects guys, because that's another thing that was very Hollywood here, in a definitively good way - the effects when Remmick's head explodes and the "mother creature" emerges were absolutely stunning. Imaginative, gory, detailed, disturbing and quite convincing.

    So hats off for this bizarre shocker of an episode. (My jaw dropped at least once, which doesn't happen much.)
  • From 1moonCircleEyesInDark on 2012-02-19 at 2:26am:
    Not only do Worf and Geordi(?) Show up when Riker calls security but ... Unarmed?!? However Crusher (a medical officer) IS armed? Ok I just didn't get that one? It is like a joke, a medical, science, and security officer walk into a bar and...

    I hate to say it but I enjoyed seeing Riker get his butt kicked by grandpa, I think it was priceless. I do like Riker however, especially in later seasons.

    The sound effect used at the end of the episode to indicate a disturbance in the force. (i.e. the communication from the bug things to their home world) sounded very similar to the sound effect (used more rhythmically) in the film Contact (Carl Sagan's not ST) when the transport plans are sent to earth from the Vega system.

    Anyhow this episode for me was to full of plot holes to really be enjoyable. But I did like Data laughing and chatting with the computer.
  • From Nadrac on 2012-05-07 at 12:07am:
    Very disappointing episode considering the buildup to it. Yes it had plot holes, stupidity. I just can't forgive one scene when admiral decided to go onto enterprise( he was a poor choice for this kind of thing considering the history Picard and he has ) anyway then starts a fist fight with Riker, not like it was unavoidable, geordi and worf was alredy mentioned but riker reported an emergency and it seems they bought the "he slipped explanation". For the the love of god, if you tell a story of them being sneaky be consistent, blown up star ship and altered orders were a great buildup for nothing, tail hanging out again watered it down and a single guy dying ended it.

    2-3/10 ( just for the first part )
    I am rewatching tng picking only the above average episodes based on rating, this was misleading.
  • From mattymjp on 2013-07-23 at 9:27pm:
    Good episode, they cut the gory bit at the end on SyFy though, had to watch it on YouTube.

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Star Trek TNG - 1x26 - The Neutral Zone

Originally Aired: 1988-5-16

Picard tries to prevent war with the Romulans. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.51

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 55 6 5 5 16 18 20 20 25 40 34

- 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."

Remarkable Scenes
- 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.

My Review
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.
  • From tigertooth on 2017-03-18 at 5:41am:
    As others have indicated, I felt the two plot strands didn't mesh together well and neither was very satisfying. We spend most of our time with the unfrozen people, but then never really resolve their plot. Instead the climax goes to the Romulan plot, but given the fact that the destroyed colonies are never mentioned again, that's unsatisfying as well.

    There were elements in both plots that could have been developed better and made into good episodes (probably separate episodes), but as it is, this is kind of a mess. Not terrible by any means -- probably in the top half of 1st season episodes -- but not that good.
  • From Mike on 2017-03-29 at 4:43am:
    Riker: "It's a pity we can't take them ourselves. Having them on board is like a visit from the past."

    Picard: "That would take us in the wrong direction. Our mission is to go forward..."

    This is an odd thing to hear Picard say when you realize, after watching the entire series, that he almost became an archaeologist and it's still his main hobby.

    What is believable though is the behavior of the 20th century humans. My favorite is Offenhouse, only because he represents so many of the things you hope humanity will indeed eventually move away from as imagined by Star Trek.

    The impending encounter with the Romulans looms over this episode nicely, building tension that doesn't disappoint. Best of the first season by far.
  • From Axel on 2018-06-13 at 12:08am:
    Re: Jeff Browning

    Currency and exchange are based on the idea that you have a scarce amount of one resource or product, and abundance of another. While this includes luxury items, its foundation is necessities: clothing, food, shelter, energy, medicine, etc. All economic models are based on the notion that these items are scarce, finite, and require labor to obtain.

    In the future Earth (though not all of the Federation), the idea is that there no longer is scarcity when it comes to necessities. Food and clothing can be replicated. Energy is presumably all drawn from renewable sources. Technology has made medicine, transportation, communication, and shelter all readily available. Automation has replaced human labor in many areas.

    If all necessities are taken care of and nobody risks going cold or starving, then what will people do with their time? Will they sit around, lazily mooching from their Eden, growing fat, dumb and happy? H.G. Wells "Time Machine" believed so, which is why you had some humans eventually evolving into the Eloi. Star Trek believes something different. It imagines that, free of the pressure to compete for resources or hoard wealth, people will pursue those interests and goals they otherwise would have: history, art, music, science, etc. As we see from the Picard and Sisko families, some people like to live the old fashioned way, resulting in restaurants and wine that everybody enjoys. Others want to explore the galaxy...hence Starfleet. The collective goals and ambitions of humanity benefit the entire civilization. Is it lofty? Perhaps...but then again, it's not hard to imagine replication technology, automated labor, and renewable energy eventually providing many of our needs even within sight of our own time. And how many people are stuck in jobs they hate because the job market doesn't reward them them for doing what they've always wanted? Would those people honestly sit around and watch TV all day, if they didn't have to work? Perhaps some would...but I do believe enough would pursue something that you could base a civilization on it.

    I know I'm going off on a tangent here, but I get the idea that's what this episode is trying to say. The 20th century human Offenhouse can't contemplate how this new economy works, and Picard tries to offer him a summary of the path he can take. It's the Roddenberry vision: a future where every kid learns how to read, none go hungry, and there's no need for money. It's either that, or we end up like the Ferengi :)
  • From C on 2019-01-13 at 10:16pm:
    Wonderful episode.

    It’s interesting that some commenters here apparently have less trouble suspending disbelief related to the speed of light than the necessity of currency.

    Highlights why this episode is so good. Humans have a long way to go before we’ll be starfleet material.
  • From jeffenator98 on 2019-07-19 at 5:26pm:
    An average episode at best. 5/10

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