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Star Trek TNG - Season 7 - Episode 15

Star Trek TNG - 7x15 - Lower Decks

Originally Aired: 1994-2-7

Four junior officers are involved in a top-secret mission. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 8.23

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 8 5 2 4 4 5 6 12 42 53 94

- In the junior officer Poker game, Ben has a King, a Jack, a Ten and an Eight. Lavelle has two Sixes and two Sevens. It is impossible for Ben to win no matter what his other card is! Why does Lavelle fold even though his victory is a certainty?


Remarkable Scenes
- Lavelle complaining about Taurik as his room mate.
- Lavelle attempting to be social with Riker.
- Picard chewing out Sito.
- Geordi bluffing about "testing the hull" of the shuttle and Taurik seeing straight through it.
- The two Poker games running simultaneously.
- Worf teaching Sito to stand up for herself.
- Sito standing up for herself to Picard.
- Sito attending the senior staff meeting and voluneering for the mission.
- Sito's tragic death.

My Review
This one's a classic. One thing I liked was one of the inclusion of Nurse Ogawa in the lower decks posse, reusing an existing character along with the three new characters. Besides the excellent acting by all characters, the main plot is enticing. A Cardassian, who's a spy for the Federation, needs to get back to Cardassian space. The two plot threads about the Cardassian and the junior officers are wonderfully integrated with one another and the ending is quite tragic and touching. My only regret regarding this episode is that we never see these characters again, with the obvious exception of Ogawa, as I especially liked Levelle and Taurik and it's a shame they're wasted. Though it should be obvious by now that Star Trek throws away good guests of the week all the time.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From FH on 2009-02-04 at 4:45am:
    Sito is not a new character. She was in Wesley's team at the academy in "The First Duty".
  • From askthepizzaguy on 2010-08-10 at 1:56pm:
    I thought that the actor that played Taurik went on to play a vulcan on Voyager, Vorik.

    Vorik is basically a Taurik clone. Similar to Tom Paris and Locarno being a clone.
  • From MJ on 2011-04-25 at 6:04pm:
    This is one of the best episodes of the seventh season of TNG, and is probably one of my top 10 for the whole series.

    First, the concept itself is unorthodox. Not many television shows put their main casts in a side role and make the story revolve around a bunch of characters, some of which haven't been introduced before. It works, too, because the actors and actresses pull it off and we still see enough of the main cast-it's just that we see them through the eyes of junior officers. The writing is perfect because we instantly get a sense of the characters and their relationships with each other.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, including Picard's testing of this young ensign in order to prepare her for a dangerous mission, with the added benefit of having some nice continuity from TNG: The First Duty. Worf was well written in this episode too. His bonding with Sito was both believable and a nice fit to the overall story.

    This one gets a 10 from me.
  • From L on 2013-05-02 at 12:02am:
    Genuinely moving at the end, and great to see the view from other members of the crew. I like how we were kept in the dark as much as the characters were, which is how it must be for 98% of the crew every time a red alert or an emergency is happening.
    Incidental personnel aren't usually privilege to exposition, unless Picard does a weekly 'This week on the Enterprise' public announcement wrap-up.
    Sad to know we won't see any more of the perky Cardassian. Loved the way Whorf and the Captain helped to build her up.
  • From L on 2013-05-02 at 2:34am:
    Oh crap. I meant 'perky Bajoran'. Embarrassed apologies.
  • From Quando on 2014-01-27 at 4:55pm:
    I just watched this episode again, and I think it is my favorite of the whole TNG series. I love that we get to see a "crisis of the week" in a way that the crew would actually experience it -- learning bits and pieces here and there but never really knowing exactly what is going on, even when it is over. I also loved the somewhat parallel but different dynamics between each of the senior officers and their corresponding junior officer counterparts (Riker/Lavell, Beverly/Ogawa, Geordie/Taurik, Worf/Sito). Lavell being terrified of Riker, but trying to kiss up to him, and Riker eventually realizing that he was being too hard on Lavell, possibly because he saw some of his own young self in him. Worf personally vouching for Sito and trying to give her more confidence and an opportunity to succeed, only to see her killed and feel like it was partly his fault (note how he protectively stands next to her when she is sitting in the observation lounge meeting the Cardassian). Geordie getting over his pride and annoyance with a show-off newbie and Taurik learning a little about how to interact with humans without coming across as a jerk. Letting the senior officers interact with new characters in the crew who are somewhat more developed than the usual "redshirt" extras lets us see old, familiar characters in a new light. Also, the ending of the episode is sad but perfect. The crew has to presume that Sito is dead based on some pretty strong circumstantial evidence, but in the end nobody really knows for sure what happened - and we the viewer don't even get to see it from our usual third person omniscient point of view. We get to see no more that the crew does, and even the senior officers don't know (indeed, there are no shots outside of the ship in the whole episode). Very true to life. My only complaint is that with the exception of Ogawa (IMO the least interesting of the four), we don't get to see any of these interesting characters ever again. I would have even liked to see a whole episode about Ben, and how he ended up tending bar on a starship. But this was the last TNG season, so I guess time had kind of run out. Even so, this is a really great story about the people on the ship and how they act and react to each other, and for that reason I give it a "10" and my vote as the best episode of TNG.
  • From dronkit on 2014-03-14 at 2:58am:
    Another favorite episode for me, when I saw it the first time years ago I loved it, seeing new characters developed, a civilian and lower rank officers, and I loved the new reformed Zito and her destiny was so sad.

    Anyway I came to say: Troi playing poker?!? She should be banned!

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