The Next Generation
Disc No :
First Aired :
2 Nov 1987
How is it that Picard is able to simply order Riker and Crusher to leave him alone when they question his command abilities? We have ample evidence that either one of these officers can relieve the captain if they feel his command judgement is impaired, and Crusher at least has the right to demand both that the captain explain his actions to her and that he submit himself for a medical exam. Yet they both back down when challenged.
Great Moment :
Data's Sherlock Holmes impersonation.
Body Count :
One, an engineer killed by the entity.
The Engineer killed in this episode has the dubious distinction of being the first Enterprise-D crewmember killed in TNG.
This episode marks the first time Marc Alaimo is seen in Trek.
The Enterprise-D is engaged in a diplomatic mission, transporting Selay and Antican delegates to the neutral planet Parliment for a conference. The ship passes an energy cloud whilst en route, and a mysterious energy surge is swept up as it passes. The surge jumps from system to system and even person to person, causing both to act strangely. Meanwhile the Enterprise crew struggle to cope with the squabbling delegates, who absolutely despise one another.
Picard himself is finally posessed by the energy. He orders the ship to return to the cloud, claiming that he wants to study it. Although the crew suspect that he is being influenced by an alien entity, they lack the proof needed to remove him from command and are forced to obey. On arrival at the cloud Picard confesses that the ship's snesors accidentally captured an energy being from the cloud and uses the transporter to beam himself out into space, scattering his essence through the cloud.
Troi is able to sense Picard's mind within the cloud, and Riker orders the ship to approach in hopes that he might be able to come aboard as the entity did. This he does, and Data is able to use the transporter to reintergrate his body and return him to corporeal existence.
Not a great episode, this one mostly suffers from the poor performance the crew put up dealing with the posessed Picard. As I point out in the YATI, it's been made clear that the first officer and medical officer can demand that the Captain explain his command decisions and relieve him from duty if they find the explanation unsatisfactory (see TOS "Obsession" for an example). They completely fail to do so in this episode, apparently simply because it would end the right there if they did.