As they are passing, the Enterprise visits Omicron Theta, the planet where Data was found. They visit the exact spot where Data was found, and Geordi sees something the original people who discovered Data never saw – an entrance into a base. There, they find a laboratory and another android like Data. They beam the components up to the Enterprise, and put the android together. He is Lore, the android made before Data. His behaviour is a little strange, but when Lore deactivates Data and swaps places with him he contacts the crystalline entity that killed the colonists. Wesley realises that there has been a swap (although as usual people don’t listen to him straight away) and eventually (just as the entity starts attacking the Enterprise) Wesley convinces Beverly that he is right, they find Data, reactivate him, and stop Lore. He is beamed into space.
This episode is a bit of a cliche – the moment that we saw Lore it was obvious that at some point they would swap places. But Spiner plays boths parts so well he is a joy to watch. There are many scenes that are just the two of them together, and they are really interesting to watch. The episode is a little predictable, but the performance more than makes up for it.
And once again we have an episode where Wesley Crusher has worked out what has happened ahead of everyone else, and nobody takes him seriously.
This also features the second and final appearance by Chief Engineer Argyle. We see at last one more Chief before Geordi takes over Engineering.
The only bit of this episode that is bloody stupid is the assertion that Data cannot speak using contractions (can’t instead of cannot etc) but Lore can. Talk about creating a rod for your own back! Data has on occasion used contractions in the past, and he will again, but for f**ks sakes, in the one episode where it is vital you don’t balls it up, what is the first thing Data says when asked if he is okay just as they have beamed Lore off the ship? He says “I’m fine.” Aaaaaargh! Cretins! Is this some subtle message telling us that actually Lore is the one that has survived? Sadly, it is nothing that clever, just a silly cock up in the script department (or possible in Spiner’s performance, though I somehow doubt that). A stupid end to an otherwise okay episode.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
Patrick Stewart(Captain Jean-Luc Picard)
Jonathan Frakes(Cmdr. William T. Riker)
LeVar Burton(Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge)
Denise Crosby(Tasha Yar)
Michael Dorn (Lt. Worf)
Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher)
Marina Sirtis(Counsellor Deanna Troi)
Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher)
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
John de Lancie (Q)
Evelyn Guerrero (Ensign)
Chuck Hicks (Military Officer)
David Erskine(Bandi Shopkeeper)
Timothy Dang (Security Guard)
Carey Hiroyuki (Mandarin Bailiff)
Jimmy Ortega (Lt. Torres)
Michael Bell(Groppler Zorn)
DeForest Kelley (Admiral Leonard McCoy)
The crew of the new USS Enterpriseare on their way to pick up the rest of the crew (including the first officer and Chief Medical Officer) at Farpoint Station when they are stopped by a being with unimaginable powers called the Q. They try to outrun Q, and in doing so separate the ship into Battle Section and Saucer Section – the saucer contains all of the families and the battle section contains all of the armaments. Q puts them on trial in a 22nd Century court, but the Captain, a chap called Picard, suggests that their actions should act as their defence. So grudgingly Q lets them continue with their mission to Farpoint.
When there, the two parts of the ship reconnect and the rest of the crew come aboard. The Bandi (the people that built Farpoint) seem rather eager to please – they seem to bve able to get their hands on anything anybody wants.
The crew explore the tunnels underneath the city, when a massive ship turns up and starts shooting the Bandi city (not Farpoint station). Then Riker and some others beam across and the corridors in the ship look exactly like the tunnels under Farpoint. Q turns back up and tries to interfere with what they are doing (telling them to fire on the ship etc) but they soon realise that both the ship in orbit and the station down below are massive life forms capable of transforming energy into matter – the Bandi have been keeping one barely alive and using it to build resources like Farpoint Station. The Enterprise feeds the creature on the surface energy and it flies into space to be with it’s mate. Q lets them off and says he will be back.
It is very hard to know what to say about this. When it was new and unusual we all loved it – but now this opening episode just seems a little dated. The ship itself looks great, although you don’t get to see that much of it. The saucer separation is a nice touch, but Q is just irritating.
Patrick Stewart gives a solid performance as Picard, and Spiner excels as Data, but the rest do not fare so well. Troi’s accent is horrible (they really tone it down as the series goes on), and Worf, Geordi and Yar just seem like background characters (although in fairness Worf was originally just that, he was not a main cast member at the start, he was only supposed to be in a few episodes). It was also nice to see Colm Meaney (he gets no name in this, but we can assume it is O’Brien I think!)
The effects are okay – I never liked the force barrier thing of Q’s, and the flash as the ship goes into warp now seems a bit tacky.
All in all this is just okay – in fact, I have realised that it feels more like an episode of original Star Trek than The Next Generation. I know it gets better, but I wonder how long before it feels like the show I am expecting?
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 0
Writer: Robert Sabaroff
I am sitting here watching this episode and I am finding it hard to write anything about it. My first thoughts were that it seems a lot more serious than anything we have seen recently – the opening scenes tell us that a StarFleet vessel manned by 400 Vulcans is destroyed, and there are no life forms in the solar system that it was exploring. In the space where the Vulcan vessel should have been is this black void. They enter the void, and slowly but surely the life signs of everyone aboard the vessel are getting weaker and weaker. The power is being drained from the Enterprise, and something is mucking about with the laws of physics – when they try to reverse out, they lurch even further forward into the void. So they try a forward burst, with all the power they can muster. All this does is enable them to hold their position.
Something about this is reminding me of the second season Next Generation episode Where Silence has Lease – the fact that they are trapped in a void and nothing they seem to try is working. Until they come across an enormous, amoeba like thing hanging inside the void, which appears to be the source of the energy drain.
This is a really odd episode. Rather like the aforementioned Where Silence Has Lease this episode also is almost without a soul. It is very had to get into it – even when Kirk has to choose between Spock and McCoy to go on (what we know isn’t) a suicide mission in a shuttle to try and get more information it is hard to care. This is possibly because we know that whoever goes will be alive at the end. Spock finds out that the thing is about to reproduce. Which means that there will be two absorbing energy from the universe, then four and so on.
Of course they do destroy the thing and (literally) everyone survives.
This is one of the rare episodes that I feel totally ambivalent about. It is not good, it is not bad. It is a bit dull in places, it fails to grab you whilst at the same time it just about keeps your attention. It has very little humour, and very little sense of real threat.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 40