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Star Trek TNG - Season 6 - Episode 24

Star Trek TNG - 6x24 - Second Chances

Originally Aired: 1993-5-24

Riker encounters an identical double of himself. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 5.31

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 27 3 4 3 5 30 16 40 16 13 5


- The uniform Lt. Riker wears is accurate for the time period. Nice.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker being "saved by the bell."
- Lt. Riker's meeting with Deanna.
- Riker and Riker discussing their father and the different decisions they've made.
- Troi going on her scavenger hunt.
- Riker and Riker arguing about the away mission.
- Riker and Riker playing poker with each other, making large bets against one another with the Commander ultimately winning. Lt. Riker: "You always had the better hand. In everything."
- Data and Worf discussing Riker and Riker.
- Thomas Riker making his exit.

My Review
This episode is both fantastic and annoying both at the same time. One annoying thing is that the new Riker character is largely wasted. We do see him again, but as a disgruntled example of how Riker went bad. That said, this particular episode does feature some cool things. My favorite detail is how much attention they paid to continuity. Previous episodes are nicely referenced all through this episode and both Lt. and Commander Riker are perfectly in character. What I liked most is the developing rivalry between the two Rikers. It's certainly not the ideal situation, but it's most definitely realistic. I like how Commander Riker seems to have decided many things in Lt. Riker's place. He rejected Troi in his place, he came to terms with their father in his place, and he rejected starship commands in his place. Lt. Riker questions all of Commander Riker's life decisions since the incident and Commander Riker feels that he has to prove that he's the better of the two as a result. The poker game is the best of these scenes of course, very thrilling to watch. Overall, another fine episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From JRPoole on 2008-09-29 at 11:01am:
    Two Rikers = way better than two Kirks.

    I love this episode, and I rate it higher than most here. While it is a little annoying that we don't hear from Thomas Riker very much after this, it's pretty realistic. They both seem to want to go their separate ways, and they do. This was an interesting idea for an episode. How weird must it be for Riker to watch his double/former self hooking up with Deanna?

    I also like this episode for the back story it gives on Troi and Riker's relationship. It's always seemed that they split up amicably with little drama (though it's also clear that they still hook up from time to time) and finally we get the real story. Will broke Deanna's heart. Awww.
  • From djb on 2008-11-26 at 4:39pm:
    While I disagree with the idea that someone can be duplicated like this (which betrays a purely materialistic and mechanistic view of the universe), I really like the issues that this episode brings up.

    Lt. Riker is basically Riker from eight years ago. We can see how much Commander Riker has matured in that time, and naturally his other self has not, being stuck alone for eight years. What would you do if you met yourself from nearly a decade ago? Would you not get a little impatient and condescending at your own immaturity? Conversely, would your past self not feel intimidated or condescended to by your older self, or perhaps resentful of the decisions he made? This very matter is well-written and well-acted.

    I love how they get into some back story about Riker and Troi, which was nice as there are far too many episodes where we see hardly anything of Troi. Interesting that Lieutenant Riker acts as if Commander Riker is a different person and made different decisions than he would have; of course that is not true. They are one and the same person, and therefore both would have made the same decision. I imagine that that is something that Lt. Riker doesn't wish to face in himself: that he was willing to leave the woman he loved for the sake of his career. The only way he can cope with that is by acting as if they are different people.

    The only problem I had with the execution of this episode was that when they found the marooned Riker, he had the same haircut and facial hair as the Commander. One would expect his hair to be long and his beard to be big and scruffy. True, he might have been able to fashion some kind of razor from whatever equipment there was down there, but he still would most likely have a different appearance. Maybe their makeup budget fell short!

    A strong episode; I'd give it a 7.
  • From Mark McC on 2009-02-12 at 7:52am:
    An interesting episode, but the premise opens up a lot of questions about the use of transporters. If it's so easy to duplicate someone, complete with all their memories, personality and experience, what's to stop someone doing this deliberately?

    People could keep backup copies of themselves before going on dangerous away missions. Or an evil person planning to commit a crime could duplicate themselves, have the clone commit the crime while they set themselves up with an alibi, then kill the clone (or maybe the clone would have the same idea and try to kill them!)

    What happens in cases like this if the person duplicated has a husband/wife and children? If Riker's relationship with Troi caused problems, imagine how difficult it would be in a family situation to suddenly have two mothers wanting to care for one child.

    Good to see that Dr Crusher is always updating her medical knowledge. In the previous episode she had no way at all of telling that Khaless was a clone of the original. Here she simply has to point her tricorder at Lt Riker for a few seconds before declaring that the telltale <technobabble> patterns indicating whether he's a clone aren't present (or maybe it only works for humans).
  • From J Reffin on 2009-08-05 at 1:59pm:
    This episode has made me reflect on what it must be like to have an identical twin. The differences to the "two Rikers" is not that great - same DNA and (usually) very similar upbringing and experiences until early adulthood. In my experience, identical twins tend to get along fairly well - but then they have had rather longer to get used to the idea.

    A good episode though once again poor Troi gets put through the emotional wringer.
  • From Bernard on 2009-12-09 at 1:33pm:
    Happened by this episode a couple of nights ago by way of TV reruns. I enjoyed it so much I dug it out and watched it again!

    All of Jonathan Frakes' scenes are remarkable in this episode. He really got it spot on in terms of how both Rikers must be feeling. Hats off to him.

    I know it's an interesting premise created by the plot device that sets up so many episodes, the transporter, but who cares. It's the storytelling that gets you past minor problems like that.

    Like other reviewers before me, I too wish they had used Thomas Riker more frequently after this. Definitely worth an 8 though for me.
  • From Mike on 2010-12-01 at 3:25am:
    If you watch when Com. Riker grabs Lt. Riker on the shoulder (about 17 minutes in) it's really obvious that they're using two different arms. In fact, his arm almost looks like a muppet. Otherwise though, I thought the special effects were pretty good, and that the episode was pretty enjoyable over all.
  • From ChristopherA on 2019-04-18 at 1:21pm:
    I think this is an excellent episode, I would rate it higher than a 6. I don't see how you can rate this episode down because you don't like what is done (or not done) with the character in later episodes.

    The only thing holding this back from for me is that I still feel Riker feels a bit flat compared to the other characters; I don't feel I got as much from his acting as I get when I watch episodes focused on other characters.
  • From jeffenator98 on 2019-10-03 at 1:05pm:
    God awful. 2/10
  • From Chris Long on 2020-06-12 at 9:44pm:
    I get very irritated with a lot of TNG episodes due to all the 'mysteries' that seem to occur throughout the series... stuff happening in crew quarters that can never be verified because of some imaginary privacy this that appears to dominate. I call BS on any of those notions. Further, several years ago I saw a science episode about the brain where they could almost read a man's mind!
    It was flaky but convincing enough to illustrate how close humanity and its science is to really be able to read someone's mind!
    That has nothing to do with any complaint about this episode because I really love it!!!

    I saw a dimension of Frakes' acting that I never saw before. He has always been so businesslike but his humanity really shone through when he and Troi were talking in 10-Forward. I was truly moved.
    A great episode all around!

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