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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 03

Star Trek TNG - 1x03 - The Naked Now

Originally Aired: 1987-10-5

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

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.72

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 51 46 16 29 38 33 38 25 9 5 12

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.

Problems
- 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.

Factoids
- 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 5:19am:
    - 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 4:24pm:
    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 2008-09-07 at 11:38pm:
    Two words: Tasha's dress.
  • From Michael B. on 2009-12-20 at 2:11pm:
    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 9:15am:
    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 8:20am:
    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.

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