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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 12

Star Trek TNG - 2x12 - The Royale

Originally Aired: 1989-3-27

The crew is trapped in an alien casino. [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 4.34

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 27 25 16 14 17 35 27 14 20 6 10

- LaForge claims the temperature is -291C. That's below absolute zero, which is impossible. Also, if the temperature is below absolute zero, how can you have wind? Much less 312 meters per second of wind?
- Picard is attempting to solve Fermat's last theorem. Whoops! Little did the writers know that the years 1983 through 1986 remarkable progress had already been made trying to solve it. In fact, by the time this episode was written in 1989 it had already been proven that Fermat's last theorem was 1. solvable and 2. would yield an elliptical curve. The theorem was ultimately solved 6 years after this episode was written by Andrew Wiles and Richard Taylor. The writers must have been very pessimistic about the progress of finding the solution, or they were just uninformed that it was progressing at all.

- There are 52 stars on the American flags in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker: "Yes. We're from the United Federation of Planets." Clerk: "Of course you are. Welcome to the Hotel Royale."
- Riker: "He means this planet. What do you call it?" Clerk: "Earth. What do you call it?" Worf: "We call it Theta 8." Clerk: "Quite charming."
- Data: "What sort of bu'iness do you suppose he's getting down to?" Mimicking the slang.
- Data playing Blackjack.
- Worf refers to the elevator as a turbolift.
- Worf: "Terrible way to die." Regarding dying in one's sleep.
- Data reading the book at lightning speed.
- I love the insults thrown at this book in the episode.
- Worf answering the phone.
- Data cheating in the game.

My Review
Really quite a dreadful episode. Between the technical problems and the juxtaposition of a book with a horrendous story as this episode's main plot, there is little to redeem this episode besides the occasional well placed humorous scenes. Even those however are difficult to appreciate with all the various cliches and lameness spread about. Most of this episode's single point comes from my appreciation of the characters too complaining about the book. It's almost as if the characters also despise the episode. ;)

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-24 at 1:36pm:
    - Just before beginning his attempt to win the funds needed to buy the Royale, Data explains the rules of craps to Riker. Doesn't it seem odd that Data has to explain the rules of craps to Riker? Riker is one of the best poker players on the Enterprise. If Riker has such a deep interest in poker, wouldn't that translate to at least a passing familiarity with other games of chance?
    - I've read that the scene with Data at the craps table is a knock-off from a scene in a movie called "The Questor Tapes." A two-hour TV pilot in 1974 created by Gene Roddenberry.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-04 at 12:24am:
    I liked this episode, despite the lack of any real meaning. It was just fun to watch the crew discover what is going on and execute their escape. A relatively simple, light-hearted episode.

    In response to DSOmo:
    - It is quite likely that Riker would be ignorant of craps despite knowing Poker. They are very different games. Poker is a game of skill and psychology with an element of chance. Craps is purely a game of chance, a simple-minded gambling game quite likely to have vanished utterly by the 24th century. And the average poker player today knows nothing about many of the games played in the 17th century.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-10-20 at 12:30pm:
    Wind speed of 312 meters per second would translate to:

    312 x 3,600 / 1,000 = ~1,000 KPH

    That's pretty %#%^ fast! Maybe too fast. Certainly too fast to survive without some elaborate protective gear. Possibly even faster than escape velocity for a planet this small.
  • From Abigail Chappell on 2012-08-12 at 5:25pm:
    Fermat's Last Theorem: My friend Lucas (who went to ESU but transferred there after you left) was watching this episode and caught the problem with Fermat's Last Theorem. He emailed me about it, and I just showed him this website so we could post it under "problems" and look smart. Darn, you're ahead of us!
  • From Arianwen on 2012-12-14 at 10:43pm:
    If this episode had a theme, it would be "apathy". The entire crew appear to be suffering from depression, such is their disinterest in events. The away team shows no curiosity, the Enterprise crew no urgency. When your premise is shallow, your plot revolves around a cliché and your atmosphere is nonexistent - this is the result. It's a shame, because it could have been so much more. Picard's agony as he reads The Royale is relatable and very real: clearly they just taped the script to the set without warning Patrick Stewart. One point for emotional honesty and Data hamming it up with the dice.

    Re. Fermat's Last Theorem, Wiles worked on the proof in complete secrecy for seven years and when the the time came to proofread the proof (ha) he only told one person. The final publication hit the mathematical world like a falling piano, so at least the writing team cannot be faulted for their research. My headcanon is that Picard was referring to Fermat's claimed "wondrous proof" rather than Wiles' monster of a solution. People still hope to find that mythical elegant proof, though I believe most mathematicians now agree that Fermat had likely made a mistake somewhere. It's likely people will still be keen on finding it three centuries from now.
    (Sorry for the infodump, but Fermat's Last Theorem is fascinating.)
  • From Harrison on 2013-07-14 at 5:50pm:
    Undoubtedly one of the most poorly executed Trek episodes ever, replete with narrative sloppiness, stilted acting, bad science and irritating plot flaws. It is certainly Patrick Stewart's most lightweight performance ever.

    Too bad, because the original script may have had some potential. All that time wasted on unconvincing dialogue could have been used to give the "future Picard" character a little substance. The time paradox, while hardly novel, could have been woven into something rich enough to at least pique the imagination.

    At the very least, this episode more than any other probably put the final nails in the coffin for the irksome "Dr. Katherine Pulaski" character. Silver lining, I think, because she exemplifies the worst Season 2 had to offer.
  • From Harrison on 2013-07-31 at 1:21pm:
    OK, it's a weak (and super low-budget) episode with a lot of flawed science & unsubstantiated plot assumptions.

    Nonetheless, it's not entirely a waste of time. Lots of very amusing interplay between Data and the (holographic?) denizens of the Hotel Royal. The Texan and the airhead bimbo are both highly watchable.

    It's a lightweight, forgettable vignette. Don't expect a whole lot. But for a filler episode made on a shoe-string, it's not bad. Quality, relaxed performances from just about everyone.
  • From Mike Chambers on 2013-10-20 at 8:08pm:
    Very underrated episode. A 1? Come on, it's not THAT bad. It may not be the most engaging story or have any real relevance, but it was a fun little episode. The long-dead NASA astronaut found in the hotel room and his note was interesting to me. That was a very unique plot point. Try to imagine being in his shoes!
  • From Mike Chambers on 2013-11-12 at 3:31pm:
    Just to expand on my last comment...

    I also enjoyed watching Worf deal with the situation, a lot of laughs from him in this one. I especially loved Data interacting with the characters in the casino. Funny stuff, and overall an episode that I enjoy watching every now and then. Not every episode has to be dark, serious, and relevant. It was a nice change of pace.
  • From Ryan on 2015-08-05 at 10:54pm:
    Data says that the odds favor "standing pat" on 13 when dealer is showing 10, but in any variation of blackjack I know of the odds would actually favor hitting.
  • From Quando on 2017-02-06 at 8:54pm:
    Call me crazy, but I kind of like this episode. It is goofy and kind of silly, but I like how baffled the away team is about the whole thing (like not knowing how elevators work). I think the best line in the episode goes to Worf. When they find the old astronaut in bed and mention that he appears to have died in his sleep, Worf says, "what a horrible way to die."
  • From lordcheeto on 2017-07-23 at 12:59am:
    Perhaps the near extinction of humanity following WWIII in the 21st century resulted in the loss of the solution to Fermat's Last Theorem.
  • From Jamie on 2018-09-19 at 7:21pm:
    Kethinov's review of all Twilight Zone episodes: 1. Cliches and lameness abound.
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-19 at 6:25pm:
    So bad, it's good! The cheesy soundtrack, the halfhearted writing... This episode is special. A bit like "Move Along Home" in DS9. Sort of enjoyable if you treat it like a joke.

    "None of these people are emitting life signs."
    "You mean they're not alive?"

    Problem: Troi can sense Riker's emotions from that far away? Wouldn't that sense be subject to the inverse square law, or something? I heard it pointed out that one of the big problems with Troi's character, and one reason she's constantly underutilized, is that nobody could seem to pin down exactly how her empathetic abilities worked. Case in point: what is the range? Does it work by proximity, or by sight?

    Data emotionspotting: he looks quite satisfied after winning that hand of 21, then very obviously lights up when he gets into character playing craps!
  • From Pipanni on 2021-09-07 at 10:35am:
    I too liked this episode. It's very creepy and sad what happened to the lost astronaut. If you just skip ahead all the book-story parts (which suck bigtime) it turns into a rather enjoyable episode.

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