This is far from the first or only episode to do this, but Yar reports that somebody in engineering "just let all the heat bleed away into space." Space is a vacuum (more or less), and as such it's an extremely good insulator. It's actually far more likely that the ship would overheat than freeze, and this is especially true since it's sitting quite close to a star.
Why is everybody so impressed with Wesley's saving the ship from the stellar fragment? They wouldn't have been in any danger in the first place if it wasn't for him taking over engineering! And although the Enterprise escaped, the Tsilkovsky was destroyed - by Wesley, without any orders to do so. If I was Starfleet I'd be pretty miffed at the kid.
When he becomes infected, Data declares "if you prick me, do I not leak?" Well, no actually. We've seen Data impaled with arrows, shot with bullets, seen an arm ripped off, even seen him decapitated, and he's never once been seen to leak.
And how can Data become infected anyway? He declares that he has systems analogous to human biological functions, and claims "we are more alike than unalike", but it's just left at that. Are we to believe Data is so pseudo-biological in nature that he can actually be infected by diseases? And if that is so, why did everybody assume that as an android he could not possibly catch the ageing disease in "Evolution"?
Since I'm complaining about the heat in space thing above, I suppose I should be balanced and give kudos to Data for correcting Riker and stating that people are blown out of a ship rather than sucked out of it.
This is the first episode ever to refer to the original Enterprise as being of the "Constitution class".
The USS Tsiolkovsky is named for Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a pioneer who was one of the first people to prove that space flight was possible and predicted that one day Mankind would have colonies on other planets.
Crusher works on a cure to the infection, which Riker realises is similar to an effect which once plagued the NCC-1701 crew - long chain water molecules which act in the body like alcohol.
With Picard low on functional crewmembers, the star finally implodes - sending a massive chunk of the core hurtling directly towards his ship. He orders the engines engaged, but Wesley is in engineering using his latest invention - a tractor/repulsor beam - to keep everybody else out. The Chief engineer manages to block power to the device and she and Riker enter sickbay, but find that a crewmember has yanked all the control chips out of the engine control computers. Data begins to reassemble the system at lightning speed, but he calculates that even at his speed they will be destroyed moments before he is finished.
Wesley, now recovering from the infection thanks to Beverley's cure, manages to re-rig the ship's main tractor beam to act as a repulsor. He applies it to the Tsiolkovsky, pushing the ship away towards the fragment and sending the Enterprise in the opposite direction. This buys the ship the few seconds it needs, and Data finishes repairs to the computer just in time to allow the ship to escape.
You have to wonder at Starfleet's medical procedures. Ships like the Enterprise-D must encounter countless numbers of infections of all kinds every time they go to a new planet, yet they seem to have virtually no procedures in place for handling infectious disease. They know for a fact that something wiped out the entire crew of the Tsiolkovsky, yet when Geordi develops similar symptoms within minutes of returning from the ship, he is left unattended in sickbay to simply wander off on his own. He then makes it all the way up to the observation lounge, meaning he must have walked right through the bridge without being stopped! Hell, if you put the crew in rubber gloves and face masks the entire incident could have been contained without difficulty.
That said, the real point of the episode is to give us a glimpse inside the characters, give us an idea of what makes them tick. On that level, it's partially successful. We get the first real look at the Beverly/Picard subtext, we get an idea of the kind of things Yar went through in her past and see how repressed she is today. We get a look at how much Geordi wants normal vision. In that respect the episode is almost a second pilot; it serves mostly as a way to introduce us to our characters and get to know them a little. That said, it does an okay job with the second hand material.
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