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Star Trek TNG - 1x26 - The Neutral Zone

Originally Aired: 1988-5-16

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

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.43

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 55 6 5 5 16 17 20 19 21 39 33

Problems
- 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?

Factoids
- 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 3:52am:
    - 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 10:14am:
    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 6:39am:
    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 2009-12-02 at 11:05pm:
    BORING...we needed less losers from the past and more Romulans.
  • From Roland on 2010-04-16 at 5:42pm:
    This episode, IMO, sets the stage for the introduction of the Borg
  • From rpeh on 2010-06-20 at 4:58pm:
    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 2:36pm:
    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 12:58am:
    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 2011-03-27 at 11:49pm:
    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 11:17am:
    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 12:46am:
    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 1:32am:
    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 10:00am:
    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 1:41am:
    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 12:43am:
    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 2018-06-12 at 8:08pm:
    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 5:16pm:
    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 1:26pm:
    An average episode at best. 5/10

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Star Trek TNG - 2x09 - The Measure of a Man

Originally Aired: 1989-2-13

Synopsis:
Picard must defend Data against being disassembled. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.71

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 53 4 5 5 2 2 4 8 18 29 206

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- This is the first Poker game episode.
- Data's total memory is somewhere around 90 petabytes with "a total linear computational speed of 60 trillion operations per second."

Remarkable Scenes
- It's nice to learn more about Picard's past through Louvois. That, and it's nice to get more small tidbits of info regarding Dr. Noonien Soong.
- Got to point out the beautiful model used on that space station.
- Data tearing down Maddox' argument (on many occasions in this episode).
- Data suddenly ripping the gift wrap.
- Pulaski to Worf in a happy tone: "I couldn't disagree more! We'll save that argument for another day." Regarding the novel gift from Worf.
- Riker objecting to prosecute Data. The whole adversarial scene is awesome.
- Riker gets a look of such profound happiness when he realizes that he has a good argument against Data. Then a look of such profound sadness when he realizes that using it may kill his friend.
- Picard's argument is that much better though.
- All of the dialog in this episode is articulate and well placed.

My Review
At what point does artificial intelligence become "alive" with the same rights and responsibilities as any other "real" person? This is a very high brow science fiction question but in very few places is it examined as eloquently as here. This episode is a TNG classic and one of the best Trek episodes ever written.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-23 at 8:39pm:
    Data: "That action injured you and saved me. I will not forget it." (Great line)

    - Data tells Picard that Maddox was the only dissenting member of a sceening committee that approved his entrance into Starfleet. Maddox did this because he did not believe that Data was sentient. It seems reasonable that Starfleet would allow only sentient beings to attend the academy. However, since the rest of the members of the committee disagreed with Maddox's position, didn't they already imply that Data is sentient? If so, when did Data lose that label?
    - Maddox asks the JAG officer if Starfleet would let the computer of a starship refuse a refit. But the comparison doesn't match up at all. Starfleet built the computers on starships. They did not build Data. If Data belongs to anyone, he belongs to Dr. Noonian Soong. All Starfleet did was find him.
    - JAG officer to Riker if he doesn't prosecute: "Then I will rule summarily based on my findings. Data is a toaster." A toaster? That seems a little antiquated for the twenty-fourth century. Wouldn't a person in the twenty-fourth century illustrate their point using an everyday item for them - something like a food replicator, a tricorder, or a communicator?
  • From TashaFan on 2008-09-28 at 7:34pm:
    I LOVED the reference to Data being "a toaster"... because "toaster" is what the Colonial warriors in "Battlestar Galactica" called the Cylons, who are also a mechanized artificial lifeform. I wonder if Ron Moore, who went to spearhead the "reimagined" Battlestar series, had anything to do with this reference?
  • From Razorback on 2009-06-25 at 9:26pm:
    A shocking episode.
    They have stripped away all of the trappings of a normal star trek episode, and done away with the sense of intergalactic exploration that gives me a reason to continu watching.

    Istead, they have created this terrible episode.

    You ask me to justify this?

    It has ruined me for the rest of star trek.
    No oher episodes will have even the slightest chance of ever living up to this one, seemingly set up to allow patrick stewart to prove exactly why he is seen as one of the greatest actors of all time. Brent spiner and Jonathan Frakes also outdo themselves - the dialogue is wonderful, the character's magnificent, and the whoe issue outstanding - leaving us with the question are we not all man made machines?

    I would also like to note the look on maddox's face at the end of the episode, as he relises that Cmr Data is far more wonderful than he'd ever imagined.

    Definately a 10 rated episode - a wonderful example of exactly why star trek is more than a sci-fi show.
  • From Ching on 2010-04-05 at 11:38pm:
    Thoroughly moving episode, but there are two things I question. One is to do with Picard's speech being, perhaps, unrealistically effective. I think I received it as one of those fictional events that has a perfect effect in it's story, but realistically would be questioned or perhaps a bit unprofessional (with Picard being so intimidating and emotional). But I'm much hazier on whether I find that an issue (and it wouldn't be a huge one) or not. I'm also not exactly well versed in court procedures to begin with.
    The second issue is with Riker's role in the story. I know the episode makes it clear why he was unfit to have taken the prosecution role, but does anyone know why there's a rule that the next most senior officer of the 'defendant's' ship becomes 'prosecutor'? I know, at least, that a jury is chosen specifically as an impartial body of people, so why chose a prosecutor who's in agreement with the defender? Makes no sense to have your opposing forces biased in the same way, but it certainly created an interesting drama. And like I said before, I really liked this episode on the whole, despite some confusion about common sense.
  • From tigertooth on 2011-03-23 at 10:12pm:
    I agree that the episode was great. My quibble: the first thing Riker does is call Data to the stand as his witness. Would he call a tricorder to the stand? Or the ship's computer? No, you call *people* to the stand as witnesses. If I was Picard, I would have said "There you go! Case closed!"

    But anything that gives Picard (Stewart) a chance to go off on a righteous monologue is pretty much guaranteed to be great.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-28 at 10:13pm:
    This is a fine episode. I especially love the way Picard starts his speech by dismissing the opposing arguments as irrelevant. The only caveat I have about this episode is that it portrays Starfleet's judicial system as oddly primitive and arbitrary.
  • From Jeff Browning on 2011-09-23 at 7:24pm:
    Agree with CAlexander's comment about how crude the Federation legal system appeared. As an attorney, I found it embarrassing. Several obvious issues:

    1. Data can't choose his own counsel? He is told that Picard will represent him. Picard offers to replace himself, but Louvois makes no such offer. The choice of defense counsel is totally in the control of the defendant in all civilized legal systems.

    2. The notion that Riker has to prosecute is absurd. He has a strong personal relationship with the accused. He is obviously not qualified. He would have to recuse himself.

    3. Why didn't Maddox appeal? You're telling me that a ruling by a mere JAG officer in a remote star base is final?

    You get the idea. Anyone with any legal training can find holes big enough to drive a truck through on this one.
  • From One moon shirt on 2012-02-26 at 10:56pm:
    I would give this episode 100 if there was such a rating. This is some of the best Trek out there. The issue of slavery and human rights is classic, this is an episode that will always endure the test of time, people will be watching this one in the 24th century :)
  • From Rick on 2012-10-10 at 12:11am:
    This may well be the quintessential star trek episode. How do we treat new life forms?

    A commenter above notes that this episode may be flawed because Maddox already made the argument that Data was not sentient and he lost. This point of view is flawed, however, because although Maddox made the argument that Data is not sentient, the Board may have ruled that Data could be admitted to Starfleet on alternate grounds. This is a technical legal point but it is certainly plausible. The board simply couldve punted on the sentience issue and ruled that Data was admissible to Starfleet for whatever reason.

    The rest of Maddox's argument is rather poor upon further examination, as other commenters have noted. His entire reasoning is based upon analogy to other types of machines. Fatal flaw? No other type of machine is capable of or would refuse his examination. It seems pretty obvious to me that as soon as a being is capable of refusing to be destroyed (albeit potentially), it has earned the right not to be.
  • From Rick on 2013-11-11 at 12:19pm:
    One more thing. Even if Data is ruled to be property why would he be Starfleet's property? Isnt he still his creator's property? Maddox would have a tough time explaining how he was against Data being able to join Starfleet while also believing that Starfleet owns him. If I were the judge it wouldve been an easy ruling to say even if Data is ruled as property Starfleet has no ownership so the whole case is irrelevant.

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Star Trek TNG - 4x02 - Family

Originally Aired: 1990-10-1

Synopsis:
The crew visits family. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.84

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 107 4 4 0 5 11 26 23 23 44 110

Problems
- When Wesley starts up the holographic recording of his father, there's no communicator on his uniform. In the next scene, there is one.

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- I'm not entirely sure, but I think that this is the first episode that we're given O'Brien's full name: Miles Edward O'Brien.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf's adoptive parents. Eccentric, loving people. The perfect contrast to cold, hardened Worf.
- Picard's nephew. An icon of innocence.
- Picard's brother. A miserable conservative.
- Picard's initial conversation with his friend Louis.
- Guinan asking Worf's adoptive parents why he never had prune juice.
- Guinan saying just the right stuff to make Worf's adoptive parents feel better about themselves.
- Robert and Jean-Luc's initially adversarial conversation regarding "what the devil happened" to him up there.
- Robert and Jean-Luc's brawl and subsequent moment of bonding. The part where Picard goes from laughing to crying in an instant is beautiful.
- Robert and Jean-Luc getting roaring drunk after their brawl bonding.

My Review
This episode features an incredibly moving story and excellent continuity. Worf's discommendation is discussed. Picard's aftermath from the Borg incident is examined. Picard's family is shown to us in detail, finally. Wesley getting in touch with his feelings again regarding his late father and other details. This episode is wonderfully woven into the series. Only an episode as carefully conceived as this one can have no scenes on the bridge and no action and still be great. Picard's scenes with his brother were simply beautiful. Some of the finest acting I've ever seen.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-08-03 at 7:19am:
    - Many times Star Trek will dispense too quickly with disastrous encounters in a character's life. For instance, it would have been very easy to jump right into a new set of adventures after rescuing Picard from the Borg. Instead, the creators took an entire episode to explore the emotional changes that the experience caused in Picard's life. Excellent!! One of my favorite TNG episodes.
    - Does it strike anyone else as odd that everyone in France speaks with an English accent during this episode?
  • From Wayne on 2009-07-13 at 10:12am:
    If I remember correctly this was also one of the lowest rated TNG episodes when it was first broadcast.
  • From Robert Koenn on 2011-02-24 at 10:09am:
    My wife and I watched this one last night. It was definitely a different type of episode and quite enjoyable. Picard's recovery and return to his home was heart warming and the rivalry with his brother was very realistic and brought their personalities out. Worf's story was also enjoyable and we always get a kick out of Worf's over the top Klingon reaction to things. Wesley still gets on my nerves but this was a better than usual story for him. Overall I gave it a 9 as I did miss some of the "real" science fiction.
  • From thaibites on 2011-04-02 at 11:12pm:
    I usually don't like human relationship episodes, but this one is really strong and a pleasure to watch. I think what makes it so strong is that the stories are all central and vital to each character - Wesley's father's death, Worf's discommendation, and Picard's emotional scars after being violated by the Borg. This is all pretty intense stuff, and there is no wasted fluff here. Great episode!

    And yes, I was wondering why everyone in France spoke with a British accent. I always wondered why Picard spoke with a mild British accent if he was supposed to be from France. Oh well, c'est la vie...(written with a British accent just to be consistent)
  • From CAlexander on 2011-05-26 at 11:06am:
    An excellent episode, very good all around. I wouldn't picture Picard as the sort of person that bonds with his brother by fighting with him, but it seems perfectly consistent with him growing up as the brash young man who picked a fight with some Nausicans and died laughing. And I love Worf's parents; they are so unlike him, but he just looks perfect as the child who is trying to be manly and is embarrassed by his doting parents. And while the Jack Crusher plot seemed rather extraneous, it too was well-written.
  • From Axel on 2015-03-23 at 10:43pm:
    This one may have been the lowest rated episode of the season when TNG was on the air, but I think it's gotten more appreciation as time has gone by. I doubt viewers enjoyed seeing Star Trek dabble in soap opera and now it's clear this is so much more.

    I agree that after Best of Both Worlds, it would've been strange to just go right to the next voyage of the starship Enterprise. Picard's visit home is the perfect epilogue. He briefly considers leaving his Starfleet career, showing just how much the Borg experience has shaken him. He and his brother continue the lifelong feud they've had, and I like that they really don't completely resolve it in the end. Instead, they reach an understanding through their fight that they both lead different lives, and that Picard's life is in the stars with his ship. The whole visit ends up being cathartic.

    It was also the perfect time to show how Worf's parents handle the news about his discommendation. They don't know what exactly it means, nor do they feel entirely comfortable asking Worf the details of it. What they do know is that they need to be there for their son. Despite his rigid emotional hide, Worf shows how much this means to him.

    The Wesley storyline was appropriately short, and was just enough to fill in between the others while also keeping with the theme.

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Star Trek TNG - 5x02 - Darmok

Originally Aired: 1991-9-30

Synopsis:
Picard deals with an alien who speaks in metaphors. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 6.34

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 101 7 3 10 12 7 19 21 26 47 160

Problems
- The Enterprise fired its phasers from the torpedo tubes...

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award."
- Picard (and only Picard) gets a new uniform in this episode. Curiously after he ripped it, he's not seen wearing it in the final scene. Seems he couldn't be bothered to replicate a replacement...
- Data has encountered 1754 nonhuman races in his time with starfleet.

Remarkable Scenes
- The discussion of the Tamarians in the opening scene. A species which WANTS relations with the Federation, but communications could not be established. Excellent idea!
- The Tamarians and their unique language.
- Picard's confrontation with the Tamarian captain. He throws down the dagger rather than enter (supposed) combat, while his first officer risks combat with the Tamarian ship.
- The campfire scene with the Tamarian captain and and Picard on the planet.
- Troi and Data attempting to decipher the Tamarian language.
- Picard refusing to fight the Tamarian captain, not realizing it was an alliance he sought.
- Picard cracking the Tamarian language.
- Picard screaming "No!" when the Enterprise attempts to beam him up, away from the battle.
- Data and Troi cracking the Tamarian language and explaining it to Riker.
- Picard attempting to speak to the injured Tamarian captain using his language.
- Picard discovering why the Tamarian captain brought him to the planet to fight alongside.
- Picard telling the story of Gilgamesh.
- The Tamarian captain's death.
- Picard speaking the Tamarian language with the first officer of the Tamarian ship.

My Review
The most underrated episode in Star Trek history. We have two plot threads. First, Picard refuses to fight the Tamarian captain and vigorously attempts to understand his language. Second, Riker's attempts to rescue Picard at all costs and using violence if necessary. These two different approaches taken by Picard and Riker contrast each other beautifully. And ultimately it is Picard's cracking of the Tamarian language which saves the day. Regarding that, I absolutely love the way Data sums up this language barrier. They know the grammar of the Tamarian language, but not the vocabulary. Speaking in metaphors and saying only proper nouns holds no meaning to a listener who doesn't understand the reference. But in time, as Picard demonstrated, the language could be deciphered. A properly educated linguist and historian could adequately communicate with the Tamarians. I felt thoroughly bad for the Tamarian captain in the end. What a great man, who makes a truly noble sacrifice in the hopes to establish friendship with the Federation. To sum it up, this is an extremely intelligently written episode and one of the finest examples of what Star Trek really is all about.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Vlad on 2006-03-31 at 4:11pm:
    When I want to introduce a non-trekker to the world of Star Trek I make them watch this episode. Isn't this a marvelous compliment? To me this is Star Trek at its best. The idea that we must find unity even if we must pay the ultimate price is extraordinary and oh so resonant in this day and age.

    But the philosophy of the piece is really presented through Picard. On a personal level he makes a new friend... and loses him, but in the end comes to understand his sacrifice. As a Starfleet officer, he is given a tough assignment, but he manages to do what he does best - preserve the piece and help bring about mutual understanding. On a universally human level we are left to ponder a very difficult question: Would we do the same if we were in the place of the Tamarian captain?

    Now, if only I could find the way to communicate to my mom just how good this episode is and make her watch it with me ;)
  • From Pete Miller on 2006-04-14 at 3:24pm:
    Problem: If the language is based solely on reference to myth and history, then how does a child learn what happened in these myths? The language can only be spoken by referencing to something that both communicating parties are familiar with.

    A fine episode, but it just seems like speaking only in metaphor is an extremely improbable form of communication.
  • From Bob Bracegirdle on 2006-08-04 at 6:10am:
    I could never see why Picard deciphered the language but for years previously the Federation had tried without success. Apparently they never even got the idea of metaphor. Were they stupid? I jumped to that conclusion within seconds of hearing it at the beginning of the episode - clearly a greek myth allusion.
  • From benq on 2006-12-05 at 2:53pm:
    Darmok is another one of those episodes that reminds us that other races don't value life and freedom the same way we do. The language barrier is a poor excuse for the inciting incident of stranding Picard and the Tamarian captain on the planet with a disappearing beast, and even the explanation of the language barrier is dubious, given the historical overtones of every language. It has its place in the season 5 arch, but Darmok is probably one of the worst executed TNG stories that nevertheless touch us.
  • From DSOmo on 2007-09-04 at 5:07am:
    Data and Troi deduce that the Tamarians speak in metaphor when they cross-reference the proper names "Darmok" and "Tenagra" to a mythological account from one of the planets nearby. After they give this information to Riker, Troi claims that communication is hopeless, since all they know is that Darmok was a hunter and Tenagra an island. If they know that Darmok is a mythological hunter, doesn't it seem likely that they would have access to some of the stories about him? Out of those stories, they might find something they could use.
  • From KStrock on 2009-01-27 at 9:55am:
    How could they have cultural stories on file about a race with whom they have no prior relationship?
  • From Wes on 2010-05-07 at 3:07pm:
    You make a great point about Starfleet uniform code with Ro's earring and Worf's sash. Another interesting thing is that Mr. Mott said that he cut Commander Riker's hair a few days earlier. Look at Riker's hair. Sure doesn't look like he recently got a haircut. In fact, looks to me like he is due for one.
  • From Vinny on 2010-07-29 at 4:41pm:
    Call it absurd fanboyism, but the one thing I remember clearly from seeing this episode the first time is totally falling in love with Robin Lefler, the first on-screen performace Ashley Judd ever made. Ah, the agony... I would have SO traded places with Wil Wheaton in the episode "The Game".
  • From tigertooth on 2010-10-20 at 5:53pm:
    To me it seemed as if the Tamarians lacked verbs. They used nouns, prepositions, and adjectives, but I don't recall any verbs. That was kind of interesting.

    But as a previous commenter said, the idea that they could speak only in references seems far-fetched.
  • From Quando on 2011-08-12 at 6:20pm:
    My question is this. How did a species with a language like this ever manage to develop the technology of space travel? I mean, how do you explain the technical specifications for building a warp core (or even a Model T) using only analogy to mythical figures? How would you even ask someone to hand you a tool? "Kinta, his 3/8" wrench open, his eyes red"! How do you talk about things like return on investment, varying interest rates, detailed medical procedures, etc. The whole language only seems suited to conveying basic ideas and emotions. It seems to me that a species with a language like this would never advance beyond the basic tribal hunter-gatherer stage.
  • From Will on 2011-10-28 at 9:55pm:
    The fact that you can rate this episode a 10 after all of the times you downrate episodes for bad science astounds me. As Quando and Pete have pointed out, the main premise of this story is scientifically implausible. I, for one, believe that the implausible is at the core of what science fiction should be, but based on your attitude toward episodes with such absurd science as this thus far, it seems unfair to be giving this episode a 10.
  • From Kethinov on 2011-10-29 at 9:22pm:
    Will,

    There's nothing fundamentally unsound about a language arising in this way. The fact that it's extremely improbable is an asset to the story in that the universal translator can translate the literal meaning of the words spoken but not the true meaning of their metaphorical basis.

    While I realize that it is hard to imagine a society being capable of functioning this way or developing advanced technology, I don't necessarily think it's beyond the bounds of realism, especially if you assume that the Tamarians have brains which more intuitively grasp metaphor or that there is a crucially emotive characteristic to the language.

    For instance, how a metaphor is stated and what body language is used may be just as important as what metaphor was used. The episode itself concludes by acknowledging that further study of the language would have to be done to fully grasp all its nuances. Just because the episode doesn't give us all the answers doesn't mean that no answer is workable.

    Since, in my judgement, the technical issues presented by the language aren't unworkable, the omissions of detail are not sufficiently distracting to the story, and the story itself is an outstanding piece of drama and science fiction, I stand by my classification of the episode's perfect score.
  • From packman_jon on 2012-05-13 at 6:33pm:
    Very good episode. Tough to really get into, but this episode really rewards the viewer.
  • From RM on 2012-08-03 at 3:33pm:
    This is one of the episodes that I like to watch even though they don't make terribly much sense. It is sufficiently suspenseful and has its good moments, definitely resulting in an entertaining episode that does more than show mindless battles.

    On the downside, the presented concept of the language never seemed convincing to me. I don't refute the idea that a civilization might base many of its expressions on metaphors (you could say that so do we in some respects; think of expressions like "a Valentine to all fans"). When talking about complex topics without requiring infinite time, many of the metaphor references might have to be "compressed", but possibly what we saw in the episode was sufficient for efficient communication. Likewise, the problem of how to describe the meaning of a metaphor in the first place does indeed exist, but this might indeed be achieved with a limited vocabulary.

    My two major gripes, however, were on the one hand how the language can possibly include references to off-world myths even for basic concepts. Does that mean the language only evolved after the Tamarians got in touch with cultures from other planets? Highly doubtful. On the other hand, I always wondered why the federation would be able to correctly translate prepositions and a few nouns when the meaning of the statements was unknown in the first place. How could a translator trying to figure out an unknown language (no matter whether it's a computer program like the universal translator or a living being doing that work) possibly know that in a sentence like "Shaka, when the walls fell." (note that what we see as English is actually incomprehensible Tamarian here) there's a proper name "Shaka" and four single words that mean "when the walls fell"? Wouldn't that translator recognize the same indicators used when deciphering other alien language that the topic is "failure" and then consider "Shakawhenthewallsfell" as one word, meaning "failure"?

    As much as forgotten Earth colonies are a trope that should be avoided, I'm convinced that the language trouble would have been a great deal more plausible if the Tamarians had originally been from Earth. That way, they could have used English words while the meaning of the sentences still wouldn't have been clear.
  • From TheAnt on 2013-11-02 at 3:33pm:
    Cpt Picard on Forbidden planet.

    This is indeed one excellent episode.
    And even though Picard suspected that there would be a duel, I did assume that the alien indeed were proposing that they were going for a hunt as a means of building bridges between the two peoples.
    I've never lost a limb on a mountainside and as certain as the bear crap in the woods there had to be a monster challenge - one that had me think of the invisible beast from Forbidden planet.

    I found the comment by Pete Miller amusing since his name suggest he is from a culture that have a language that indeed use a lot of metaphors in daily use.
    Even so both the British and Americans are able to learn their language - also myself. So I do not see any problem in that respect.

    There's several examples on Earth of languages such as synesthetic ones, where the universal translator would be a lead balloon.
    So why not for one completely different species that have grown up on one isolated planet.

    And no actor but Patrick Stewart could have done the summary of the Gilgamesh epic as well as here. A solid 10 as certain as the pope wear a funny hat. :)
  • From Axel on 2015-02-21 at 6:16pm:
    This has to be one of the most innovative episodes in sci-fi TV history. I agree with above comments about this being ST at its best. However, I think a lot of the concerns about the Tamarian language can be explained.

    In RM's case: consider that the Tamarian captain is best able to understand Picard when Picard is telling the tale of the Gilgamesh epic. It seems the Tamarian brain can process the language of other cultures through this narrative format, even if they don't yet know all the details of the story. This may be why Darmok, a mytho-historical hunter from Shantil 3, is part of the Tamarian linguistic database. Perhaps that legend became incorporated into Tamarian culture and language over time.

    There are other concerns too. For instance, how do the Tamarians handle certain basic day-to-day tasks, like "Hey, can you see if the engine coolant levels are good to go?" One explanation is that just as humans rely on metaphor in rare situations, perhaps Tamarians use literal language only when absolutely necessary, such as explaining a technical concept. Another explanation is that Tamarians may have invented their own stories that correspond to mathematical and scientific principles, in the form of music, history, and mythology.

    But this is all part of the fun. Star Trek presents us with an alien race that communicates through mythological and historical reference, and lets us fill in the blanks through our own imagination. Isn't that the whole point of sci-fi? A beautifully created episode, and a wonderful contribution to TV.
  • From K on 2017-01-30 at 10:33am:
    Regarding the phasers from the torpedo tube. I always thought they had purposely done that, as the modifications to do the needed damage required them to construct some sort of custom array that they mounted in the torpedo tube.

    Alas I noticed on the re-mastered HD version that that scene has changed to have the phasers firing from the dorsal array.
  • From jeffenator98 on 2019-12-19 at 1:14pm:
    One of my top 5 all time star trek episodes.10/10

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Star Trek TNG - 5x25 - The Inner Light

Originally Aired: 1992-6-1

Synopsis:
Picard lives another life on a faraway planet. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 8.33

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 54 7 5 3 4 12 13 13 16 23 384

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of TNG Award".
- This episode won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. This episode was the first TV show episode to be given such an award since TOS: The City on the Edge of Forever.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard's reaction to his new location. "Freeze program! End program!"
- Picard talking to his "old friend" trying to get information about where he is.
- The revelation that the probe is making Picard live a completely new life and that for him, years are going by.
- Picard getting sick in his dream world thanks to the disruption of the beam transmission.
- Picard's wife's death.
- Picard's old friend returning from the dead to explain the probe to Picard.
- Picard having to rediscover who he is.

My Review
This episode is a fan favorite, and with good reason. The story that develops within Picards mind is captivating and just when it starts to seem familiar and warm, the characters explain to Picard what his new life really was. The idea behind the story is very simple. Picard is taken into a dream world by an alien probe in which he lives a completely new life. It's not the idea of the episode that is superb, but the execution. This episode features an absolutely stunning performance by Patrick Stewart as Picard. Arguably the best performance he's ever done. In the end, we're left with the tragic story of a civilization destroyed by their own sun going nova and a profoundly affected Picard. He will never be the same man again after this truly life changing experience. A TNG classic.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Rich Dixon on 2006-04-20 at 6:37pm:
    Patrick Stewart never quite fully received the accolades and recognition from the Emmy's for his portrayal of Jean Luc Picard during his stint on TNG. The show as a whole was disregarded come Emmy time. We all know the reason why. It was a science fiction show, syndicated no less. In the early 90s, there was no way in hell a sci-fi show would be nominated for best drama on TV. Now in the 21st century, things have changed of course. Shows on Cable TV are routinely nominated. I still wonder if TNG and Stewart would garner nominations even still today. Not that the Emmy's are the end all to be all. My point is this. Somebody had to give this man an award! Stewart's performance in this episode was a tour de force. It was just stunning. The Inner Light although simplistic in its story telling, encompassed everything that Star Trek represents. The aliens in this episode will never be forgotten. At least not for Picard, who was controlled by an alien probe from a world long since vanished. During a span of 25-30 minutes, he lives a lifetime of another man complete with a loving wife and two kids. He watches them grow up along with the decaying of his planet. We watch as Picard stubbornly and defiantly refuses to play along with these people who seem to believe he's another man. Eventually, Picard assumes the life of this man and leads the life he never had and longed for. He has a family. He has a companion who is loyal, patient and nurturing. Picard's brilliant mind leads him to find ways to save his planet to no avail. Ultimately, the aliens reveal themselves and inform Picard the truth about themselves and their planet. This was their way of being remembered. What an effective way to let others understand who you are. Let them live a lifetime as one of you. One of the most moving and touching scenes came at the end, in Picard's ready room. Riker walks in and gives the captain the only contents that were found in the alien probe. A flute Picard learned to play as this other man. When Picard was first abducted, he didn't even know how to hold it properly. As Riker leaves the captain to his thoughts, Picard stares out the window. He begins to play it with a feeling and passion that conveys everything we need to know. These memories will stay with him forever. This is an excellent episode. It's the very reason why I loved this show.
  • From Pete Miller on 2006-05-04 at 11:08pm:
    Is it just me or does the second version of picard (aged once) look a hell of a lot like Jimmy Buffett?
  • From Pete Miller on 2006-07-18 at 6:30pm:
    Sorry to come back and post again, but after I finished the series I decided to award my personal Best episode of TNG award.

    When I picked my "Best of..." episodes, I took into consideration what each series was really about. The Next Generation is truly about exploring the unexplored, discovering new people and cultures, and above all self-improvement. It is not like DS9, which focuses on more darker themes and contains more action. The Next Generation aims to paint an optimistic picture of the future, and to affect its audiences profoundly.

    The Inner Light accomplished all of TNG's goals. It is a masterful story of the tragic death of an entire species whose sun went supernova. The culture is not lost, however, but preserved through the memories of Picard, who is a changed man. It is a story of life in general, and of growing old and losing loved ones. The bottom line, though, is that the future is a bright one, and those things that we may consider to be lost causes today may yet live on in the future.

    This was a very moving performance by Patrick Stewart, the best actor to ever grace Star Trek. It was a perfectly written story, demonstrating the awesomeness of TNG's writers. I cannot subtract any points from anything, and the episode basically epitomizes TNG.

    It is with all of these things in consideration that I bestow my "Best of TNG" award to "The Inner Light". As soon as I finish Voyager I'll re-evaluate all episodes to find the best overall.
  • From DSOmo on 2007-10-05 at 3:29am:
    This is one of my favorite TNG episodes of all time. That is not correct. This is one of my favorite Star Trek episodes of all time! Jean-Luc Picard is one of my favorite Star Trek characters (it doesn't hurt having an amazing actor like Patrick Stewart playing the part.) However, yes, I have even "discovered" a problem with this episode.
    - This is a society with the technological level of midtwentieth-century Earth. It manufactured a device that can create an alternate reality within an unknown alien mind. Look at what this probe accomplishes. It scans the Enterprise and overpowers the ship's shields. It finds Picard and attaches an energy beam to him. This energy beam creates an alternate reality so complete that "it is as real as his life on the Enterprise." Does this sound like a project undertaken by a community who have just begun to launch missles? In the late 1950s, if the nations of Earth discovered that the Sun would soon explode, is it even conceivable that those nations would be able to build such a device?
  • From baron on 2010-12-11 at 2:49pm:
    After watching this I found the society that he lived in pretty unbelievable. All Picard seems to do is play his flute and look through a telescope. How did he raise a family just by doing that? Wouldn't he need a job and income of some kind? This isn't a futuristic society with food replicators and unlimited energy. They say they have to grow crops. Towards the end they say the crops are failing. Where are they getting their food from then? They say it takes a day just to send a message to the next village. It's pretty impossible that society could have built the probe in the first place.

    In an earlier episode someone mentioned that it would have been to impossible for a time traveler from the past to take a phaser and try to manufacture it back in his own society. Since their society wouldn't have the infrastructure in place to be able to manufacture it. Perhaps a phaser needs a mineral from another star system but they don't have the ability to leave their planet. But yet in this episode a 1950's era society can make technology more advanced than the enterprise.
  • From Autre on 2011-03-04 at 2:32pm:
    They are aliens, and regardless if they are in a 1950's era situation they are much different from humans. Rather than creating atomic bombs or weapons to destroy one another they all banded together as a race with a single goal in mind.

    If you were to take every scientist in the world and work them to one cause it is very likely something astounding would come from it.

    But again, the main point behind this is that they are aliens, and TNG has many episodes with aliens that appear to not be advanced but turn out having technological marvels.
  • From Robert Koenn on 2011-04-29 at 11:46am:
    This was a very good episode but not nearly my favorite. In fact I rated it a 7. Stewart did do an excellent job of acting in the episode. But why I lowered my rating was that I did not find the scenario and the overall plot that exciting. While I could also say it was technically absurd, a race that seems to live a simple agrarian existence creating this marvelously advanced spacecraft that was launched on a very basic solid fueled rocket, that is not really my main complaint. It just wasn't that exciting or even enticing to watch Picard live this imaginary life. I am not a particular fan of massive doses of action or such but found this more of a soap operaish plot line. It appears I am the minority in this take on the episode but those were my thoughts while watching it. I found the interplay between characters much more interesting in the episode where Picard returns home and visits his brother.
  • From Alvlin on 2011-05-26 at 11:45pm:
    I agree with Baron. While this is a great episode both emotionally & executionally, logically it has a HUGE flaw -- there is no way that such a "technologically primitive" society could manufacture & launch a probe that would be able to pierce the defenses of a ship 1,000 years into the future, not to mention reach directly into Picard's mind and play out a scenario based on his own reactions. A real strech which unfortunately hurts the overall credibility of this one.
  • From Bronn on 2011-09-25 at 1:33am:
    I just want to comment on some of the scientific critique's of this episode. One of the reasons I can buy is that I don't necessarily think their technology had to evolve at a similar rate to ours. Just because they weren't advanced in the field of space travel doesn't mean they weren't advanced in other areas-they just may not have been interested in space travel. It's worth wondering how interested humanity would be in space travel if this planet had no moon. The extreme advance of technology during the space race is partly owed to the existence of an easily definable objective: Let's put a human on the closest celestial object. It helps also to have such a close orbit body to fuel the curiosity of planet-dwellers, to give them an actual urge to reach space.

    What we see of the planet during this episode also represents a single agrarian community. It's not necessarily the best cross-section. If you visited 20th century Earth and all you saw was a farming community in Nebraska, you might not catch on that we can generate nuclear power, or that there is a laboratory in Geneva that can isolate atoms of anti-hydrogen. The native culture in this episode may have simply had some specialization in ways to affect brain chemistry, and this was a technology unique to their development.

    "But how does it pierce the defenses of the USS Enterprise!?" Well it's just possible that the Enterprise's defenses aren't designed to defeat the specific thing that the probe was doing. The shields are designed to repel only specific types of energy, and presumably solid objects (there are many inconsistencies with THAT). The shields clearly allow certain types of energy to pass through-as evidenced by the fact that the crew can actually see out a window even with the shields are activated, so visible light is not stopped by the shields. The crew is also still able to use communication frequencies with the shields up, so perhaps other parts of the EM spectrum are not screened out. It's not like this beam utterly defeats the Enterprise, since it takes the crew a whopping 5 minutes to figure out how to interrupt it (if that)-they are only stopped because removing it nearly kills Picard.

    Okay, so there's a little bit of a hand-waving in that the probe apparently "scans" the crew, or least has some method of identifying that there are life forms on board the Enterprise, and it manages to isolate one to communicate with, but it's not like we ever learn much about how the USSE itself scans for lifeforms. There's not really an issue with bad science in this episode, at least not enough to destroy willful suspension of disbelief, unless you're just looking for reasons not to like it.
  • From Rob on 2013-01-27 at 1:05am:
    I love this episode, it could be my own personal experiences that leads me to this but it seems to me to be an analogy to a psychedelic induced state of mind wherein the 'traveller' can experience an entire lifetime in the blink of an eye.

    Once returning to their original understanding of their reality and normal perspectives there is a struggle, a conflict between the person they were before the event, the person they were during the event and who they need to be to move on from the event. Everything that took place was easily as real as the present and past to them, completely linked with emotions and feelings as real as any other memory in their mind.

    The only way for the traveller to move on is to merge the persona they lived into their ego, challenge the resistance from the higher ego and accept that they experienced a true existence and that perception combined with perspective is all there is, we accept our current one as the only one in order to live.

    This analogy would have been complete if after returning to the enterprise when Picard was given the flute he was able to play it as proficiently as he did in the mental projection.
  • From skye_sken on 2013-03-27 at 8:31pm:
    Just thought to comment on the allegations that a civilization such as theirs could not produce the technology needed for the probe to exist: I always figured the dreamworld that Picard experiences is rather an ideal representation of this people, or perhaps a "play" of a sort, rather than a full-on realistic portrayal of the advanced civilization they fostered just before the supernova event which eradicated it's people.

    When you think of it, some might say that a fine way to express one's civilization would be through art. It can be argued that technology is kind of homogenic in the way that any alien species can produce the same quantative results and inventions, whereas art I would suppose is always subjective and thus unique. I mean, showing aliens a play by Shakespeare would cover an immense amount of human emotions, those we hold so dear to us, and in a way sleek the image of humanity for the alien specators (after all, not many of us would sooner paint impressions of war, rape, extortion and other realistic qualities expressed by mankind).

    As someone before me noted, Picard doesn't seem to be doing any work, well, expect for his scientific research, which I guess many a folk do care for, and might deem important enough to sustain through their own labor. In the INNER LIGHT, art plays a key role in cultural preservation. In the dreamworld, we see art approached in the manner of the flute Picard gradually learns to play, the music of which in a way is a strong symbol of the lost people and a means to immortalize a part of their civilization.

    While we're making assumptions, I guess it's possible that if Picard's dreamworld was indeed a play, it was not entirely truthful, and this civilization never actually disappeared in a super nova after all; Picard just became a buffoon of an elaborate cosmic jape. But that's not nearly as romantic an idea, so forget it.
  • From railohio on 2014-07-27 at 11:03am:
    You guys are forgetting that while the probe was advanced, it certainly did not overpower the enterprise. The enterprise could have easily destoyed it, or severed the link (which they did), but they wouldn't because it would have been fatal to Picard. Even before he was connected by the beam, the Enterprise's mission is to explore new life and civilizations, so they could not simply destroy it on sight.

    As far as creating the probe in the 1st place. We can say the beginning of the episode took place somewhere in the 1950's. He lived almost a full life on Katan so it is feasible to say 40 years passed. That would put the society somewhere in the 1990s. With 1990s technology, it was seem like a far stretch to create such a device. However with the entirety of the planet working on such a desperate cause, one can conclude that it is somewhat possible to create something like this.

    Overall I loved this episode, and found it extremely interesting. A solid 9
  • From Axel on 2015-03-24 at 11:53pm:
    I'm in the minority that didn't enjoy this episode, and it's not because of the technological issues discussed above. It's because I really can't believe Picard or anyone else doesn't give a second thought to the ethics of what the Kataan have done.

    This probe is designed to take control of a person's conscious, force that person to relive a lifetime with the Kataan, and then awaken that person after making clear that this experience was just a recreation designed to keep the memory of their civilization alive. So twice you are confronted with years and years of your life being an illusion. The first time would be enough to make anyone question their own sanity. As for the second round of news at the end, Picard takes it pretty well. But the Kataan seem not to have considered (or cared) that others might not handle it that well. A person could leave this entire experience with serious mental and emotional problems rather than fond memories. Many might not have adjusted to living with the Kataan in the first place.

    Maybe the Kataan think that the collective memory of their civilization is worth all of this. But that issue is never really explored. Instead, Picard is released from his fake probe life as a happy man with a flute, never once wondering about the roller-coaster the Kataan just put him through.

    The acting in this episode is superb, not just Stewart but the guests as well. Still, the details of Picard's life with the Kataan isn't enough to redeem this one for me, nor was it interesting enough to put the episode's plot above average.
  • From Harrison on 2016-06-25 at 7:50pm:
    A dramatic masterpiece, by far the best episode of any of the Star trek series. Stewart's performance is simply magnificent.

    Of course it is easy as pie to poke holes in the sci-fi logic underpinning the plot. That's true with any episode in the series, and it is hardly significant in light of the outstanding screenplay, character formation and plain old dramatic compulsion. A little suspension of disbelief won't harm you, and in the laws of the Star trek universe, there's nothing terribly difficult to accept.
  • From dominic on 2016-06-26 at 1:11am:
    The thought did cross my mind that such a primitive society shouldnt' have been able to build such an advanced piece of technology in the probe, but I was able suspend my disbelief and get over that.

    What really bothers me about this episode is what Axel mentioned above. Surely the victim of this probe is put through an unfathomable amount of emotional trauma...not once, but twice. When Captain Picard "came back" and they asked him to go sickbay, I was totally expecting him to say something like "I don't need to go to sickbay. I need to see Counselor Troi." Not only did he not say that, but he didn't even see her. Was she even in this episode? Seems like a huge oversight to not have her play a more important role.
  • From Chris on 2018-02-10 at 10:02pm:
    I, like most folks, love this episode. An easy 10.

    If we here on earth were faced with a similar fate, I'm certain that once the religious idiots got out of the way, we could build something exactly like they did! ... and with current technology to start with!

    There are lots of study into mind reading technology going on right now and so nothing in this show is too much of a stretch for me.

    People always define other, alien technical abilities using humans as their benchmark and that is simply nonsensical to attempt. There is no context with which to base another alien's technical level and so leave it alone.

    I would have preferred if the aliens had done the probe to two people instead of just one. Like Axel, I think a person could seriously come out of an experience like this questioning one's sanity, and so having someone else come along for the ride would've been better I think.

    I have no problems with the food issues either. It's called C-Rations! ;-)

    Easily my favorite episode!
  • From CAlexander on 2019-03-31 at 11:38pm:
    Just watched this episode again, and it is even better when re-watched. This episode is too beautiful to care about the logic problems.

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Star Trek TNG - 6x15 - Tapestry

Originally Aired: 1993-2-15

Synopsis:
Q gives Picard the chance to change his destiny. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.84

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 32 7 5 4 6 5 7 3 20 34 165

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is the winner of my "Best Episode of TNG Award" and is therefore a candidate for my "Best Episode Ever Award."

Remarkable Scenes
- Q's declaration that he's god and Picard's reaction.
- Q: "You're lucky I don't cast you out or smite you or something."
- Picard regarding Q being god: "I refuse to believe that the universe is so badly designed!"
- Watching young Picard fight the Nausicaans. He even laughed, just like the story he told Wesley in TNG: Samaritan Snare.
- Q: "Is there a John Luck Pickerd here?"
- Picard waking up next to Q...
- Picard alienating all his friends.
- Picard passing Q's test and seeing the results of his new life.
- Q making his point about how Picard's history of risk taking shaped his life.
- Q: "That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is. Or how important each moment must be. So his life never came into focus."
- Picard: "I would rather die as the man I was than live as the man I saw."

My Review
This episode is absolutely perfect from beginning to end. In many ways it reminds me of TNG: Family; but with a particular emphasis on Picard. The simple, yet profoundly powerful point this episode makes is done in an articulate downright moving manner. There are many things to redeem this episode. Firstly, it doesn't waste any time on pointless action scenes; in particular we don't see how Picard was injured at the beginning of this episode. Why? Because it was completely unimportant. Next, this episode presents Q in a completely unusual manner. As the series develops, it becomes clear that Q has something of an affinity, or perhaps a sympathy for Picard. Q begins to like Picard and wants to see him succeed; despite his adversarial appearance. As it was put at the end of the episode, it's almost hard to believe Q could be so nice. Finally, this episode allows the average viewer to connect excellently with Picard. Everyone has moments of their lives they regret or would like a chance to change. But like it or not, they are a part of who we are. Pulling a single thread in the tapestry of our lives would have profound effects on who we would become later. This episode is nontraditional in terms of the issues Star Trek usually tackles, but is nonetheless completely successful and one of the most memorable and moving episodes ever written.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Wolfgang on 2006-07-10 at 9:04am:
    Remarkable Scenes

    -Lieutenant Picard !
  • From JRPoole on 2008-09-18 at 11:58am:
    There's not a whole lot to complain about here, but I'm not as smitten with this episode as many fans are.

    It's great to see Picard's past, and his evolving relationship with Q is certainly interesting. But I find the It's-A-Wonderful-Life theme of this episode is a bit heavy-handed and explained to death. I also think they could have done a better job writing the characters of the young Picard's friends, who both seem pretty broadly drawn and never really elevate out of stereotype.

    Still, this is solid, and I can definitely see the charm, but I can't list it as one of the absolute best episodes. I guess I'll have to wait until I finish the series to make that call, though.
  • From Dennis on 2013-04-02 at 6:05pm:
    I couldn't wait for this one to be over, and I've never felt that way about any other episode. The stupid costumes and make up. The over the top acting by Picard's adversary's, Q, all of it just stupid. The story had nothing to do with the theme of Star Trek. It could have easily been an episode of Mayberry RFD. Sorry if I'm a little heavy handed but they can flush this one.
  • From dominic on 2016-08-18 at 9:04pm:
    Problems: Q let Picard go back and put things back the way they were originally, so how did he end up surviving his present-day injury? A pretty glaring one IMO.
  • From Cal on 2017-02-27 at 7:39am:
    Q was involved, he can give and take life at any moment, so Picard's injury isn't an issue. Maybe Beverly saved him, maybe the whole injury thing was set up by Q in the first place, so it's hardly a problem. I adore the episode.

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Star Trek TNG - 7x26 - All Good Things... Part II

Originally Aired: 1994-5-23

Synopsis:
Picard tries to prevent the destruction of humanity. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 8.13

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 30 5 0 5 2 6 1 11 20 14 180

Problems
- People like to bitch about "warp 13" in this episode, but those orders were given during one of Q's future fantasies, so who cares?
- Data sat in the helmsman's position during the present in this episode.

Factoids
- This episode (both parts) won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Remarkable Scenes
- A clean-shaven Riker!
- Picard investigating the anomaly in all 3 time periods.
- The three nacelled Enterprise!
- Geordi's regenerated eyes and Ogawa losing her baby.
- Q showing Picard the primordial soup.
- Picard senilely describing a temporal paradox and Data catching what he's actually talking about.
- Picard manipulating the Enterprise in all 3 time periods.
- Picard: "Mr. Data, you are a clever man in any time period."
- The sight of all 3 Enterprises together.
- Q: "I'm going to miss you Jean-Luc, you had such potential. But then again all good things must come to an end..."
- Picard thanking Q.
- The crew discussing the changes in the timeline.
- Picard joining the Poker game.
- The last line on of TNG TV series: Picard: "So, five card stud, nothing wild, and the sky's the limit!"

My Review
This episode finishes off with a bang, much more exciting than the first part. The issue of Troi and Worf's relationship is neatly tied up here. It would have been nice if in the TNG movies it was at least somewhat addressed, but it's certainly better than no explanation at all. The series ends making just as grand a point as it began with. Humanity is evolving and its collective mind is expanding. I like the sense of camaraderie at the end of the episode, both between Q and Picard regarding their relationship; Q really is a good guy, guiding humanity, and protecting humanity as they grow. Also the camaraderie between Picard and his crew as he finally plays Poker with them for the first time. This episode is a wonderful conclusion to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2006-07-08 at 9:16pm:
    I give All Good Things a 10 overall. I did not rate Part 1 and Part 2, since I watch it on DVD and have no idea where the halfway point is.

    The episode itself is actually better than all the TNG movies. Everything about it is genius. Having the episode take place in three time periods is genius. Having the episode be a sequel to the very first episode is genius. I always look forward to watching it again.
  • From Tony on 2008-09-09 at 12:23am:
    The whole idea of working among diferent time periods and Picard in that "one moment" open to new posibilities and things to explore is great, but there is one problem: the movies and series set after this episode in time seem to show that humanity didn't expand in ways predicted in this episode and just settled back into their old ways. Admittedly, our current minds are not highly evolved enough to comprehend such endevers, but it does seem odd that both humanity doesn't advance (except maybe in VOY: Relativity dealing with an even farther future) and that the Q doesn't seem to care. This is not a strike against this episode, but a strike against future episodes relating to this episode.
  • From JRPoole on 2008-11-05 at 3:09pm:
    I just finished the entire TNG series, so this is a review of the series as a whole as well as a comment on this episode.

    "All Good Things" is phenomenal. It's intelligently written, fleshes out the characters well, and filled with fanboy fun stuff that doesn't get in the way of a good episode. I gave it a 10.

    TNG overall was also solid. Like the original series, it had its lame moments, but it was able to take the original concept and turn it into a sleek, intelligent show that took itself seriously but was still still fun. The best moments of TNG ("Measure of a Man," "The Inner Light," the Klingon saga episodes, the Borg invasion, Wesley's continuing journey to higher astral planes, et al) get at the heart of what Trek was really about. Now I'm looking forward to seeing DS9. I've seen a good bit of it, but a lot of it will be new to me.
  • From djb on 2009-04-03 at 4:20am:
    I loved the 3D space battle scene. Unfortunately throughout most of Trek, the potential allowed by the three dimensions of space is wasted and most everything is in two dimensions, as if they were in a ship on the ocean. The brief battle scene here with the Enterprise arriving from a totally different angle and orientation was brilliant, and I wish we could have seen more battle scenes like that.
  • From Ali on 2009-04-12 at 12:21pm:
    I love this episode too, but I think the science is a little bit iffy.

    Since Picard establishes that changes in timelines don't affect each other (i.e. Deanna doesn't recall him ordering a red alert on his first mission), then the fact that the first amino acid doesn't bond in the past shouldn't affect their known future or present...

    Multiple Universe Theories generally say that if an event is changed in the past, it will not alter the present; rather, create a new alternate Universe with that decision. And since there are infinite universes that exist where life did not end up occurring on earth, it wouldn't be that amazing. Life would have continued as normal to their perspective...
  • From Jadzia Guinan Smith on 2011-10-01 at 9:49am:
    If it's a 10, why isn't a candidate for your "Best TNG Episode" award?
  • From Kethinov on 2011-10-07 at 2:49am:
    Both parts of the episode would have had to be rated 10 for it to be considered.
  • From Vlad on 2012-02-13 at 10:49am:
    This is one of my favourite episodes in all of Star Trek, but one little problem kills the magic for me...

    An early draft of the script, which was discarded for budget reasons, had the future crew stealing the Enterprise from a museum. Which meant that they started the search for the anomaly in the Enterprise and not the Pasteur.

    In the final version of the script they were on the Pasteur.

    Later, present-day Data says that the resonance pulses (or whatever they were called) inside the anomaly were identical "as if all three originated from the Enterprise".

    But they didn't!

    Anyway, aside from this little nitpick I have with the episode it's a fantastic send-off for TNG.
  • From michael on 2012-08-07 at 6:03pm:
    If the anti-time reaction in the future goes backwards in time - how were they able to see it in the future? From the point of origin it travels backwards. From the perspective of linear time it would be impossible for anyone perceiving the forwards movement of time to see a reaction that moves precisely in the opposite direction?
  • From Captain Keogh on 2013-03-17 at 6:38am:
    I loved this episode, just saw it on 26.12.2012 and thought it was brilliant, I gave it a 10.
  • From thaibites on 2013-04-16 at 7:41pm:
    This is a great send-off for TNG. It's obvious a lot of thought was put into this episode. For example, I love the shot of Baby-face Riker they lifted from the 1st season. It was ingenious how they had new audio from Frakes while the shot shows Picard looking at the monitor, and then cuts back to Riker actually saying something from the season 1 footage. It was seamless and shows a lot of attention to detail.
    But the bigger aspect here is that All Good Things is what Star Trek is all about - pushing frontiers and going where no one (man) has gone before. Plus there's a lot at stake here - the existence of humanity (and the existence of every species between Earth and the Neutral Zone). This is awesome science fiction and TNG at its best!
  • From L on 2013-05-09 at 8:32am:
    This definitely was a great finale, epic and exciting. But a little frustrating too.

    Why do the Q continuum continue to torture Picard? They create some nonsensical dilemma and accuse Picard of being the cause when it was solely due to them that the crisis existed in the first place, just so they can force him to make some grand act they approve of.
    I thought the dilemma and its solution was totally irrational and may as well have been a dream, but it is implied that to evolve humanity must stop exploring real world science and technology and devote more time to this sort of thing. It seems they want to hold them back more than anything.
    I was annoyed at Q seeming to revert back to his earlier character after all they'd been through together, but felt better when it turns out he was acting under orders and did try to help after all.

    It was awesome seeing how irritable Picard was as an old man, and seeing Troi in a mini-skirt. It was a shame Guinan didn't make an appearance for the last episode.
    The last scene was perfect and uplifting.
  • From Dstyle on 2013-09-23 at 11:03am:
    This episode first aired when I was in middle school, and I remember being very annoyed at the fact that the anomaly, which is supposed to be moving backwards in time, was somehow moving forward in time after it was created. It was the first time I ever noticed any logical inconsistencies in my favorite show (which is kind of funny now, looking back on all the various logical inconsistencies throughout TNG's run), and it still hinders my enjoyment of this episode. But I guess it would have taken too much screen time for the future crew to create the static warp bubble in the past by slingshotting around a sun or something.

    I've always wondered why star ships always seem to be on the same plane when they run into each other, so it was good to see the future Enterprise approach and attack perpendicular to the Klingon Birds of Prey. Shame future Star Trek's didn't continue with this.

    Everyone thinks future Picard is crazy, but they inexplicably (or perhaps touchingly) humor him because he is Jean-Luc Picard. He refuses a brain scan at Cambridge, insisting instead that they immediately get a ship to the neutral zone. The "present day" crew, on the other hand, believe Picard completely, in part because Beverley was able to show (via two brain scans) that he had accrued two days worth of memories in a matter of hours. Why didn't future Picard immediately insist on the same brain scans? Wouldn't it have been much, much easier to get everyone on board with him (and to avoid being sedated) by easily providing evidence that what he was saying was true?

    Future Geordi is married to a woman named Leah. Leah Brahms, perhaps?
  • From Jai Parker on 2014-07-09 at 10:11pm:
    After a generally disappointing Season 7 TNG ends with a massive bang! Easily the best finale of any Trek series and 20 years on this is still one of the best grand finale's of any TV series IMO.

    I just wish they'd left the story here, rather than trying to reinvent TNG as a series of half baked sci-fi action films with a horribly out-of-character Picard at the helm.

    As with the Star Wars prequels I pretend the TNG films didn't happen and it ended with "the sky's the limit!"
  • From englanddg on 2014-08-02 at 4:40am:
    The only thing I'll add is that the previous episodes were all setting up for this, outside of summing up loose characters (as fan service).

    Many of the derided episodes (when taken on their own) are in fact building the audience to this climax...

    Where Picard finally loses his mind.

    It was a quite brilliant story arch, across episodes, while still paying fan service to characters in interesting ways as they writers knew the show was dead after this season.

    Extremely well done.
  • From Mike Chambers on 2016-08-25 at 10:55am:
    This has already been mentioned by another commenter, but I want to reiterate. The one thing that always bothered me about this otherwise amazing finale is, if the anomaly only grows backwards through time then how the heck were they able to go back several hours into the future and see it??

    It's been a while since I've watched this, so maybe I'm forgetting something but I don't recall any explanation for it. Seems like a pretty massive oversight.

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