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|Series :||The Next Generation||Rating :|
|Disc No :||1.1||Episode :||2|
|First Aired :||5 Oct 1987||Stardate :||41209.2|
|Director :||Paul Lynch||Year :||2364|
|Writers :||J. Michael Bingham, John D. F. Black||Season :||1|
|Guest Cast :||
|Plotline :||The Enterprise-D rendezvoused with the USS Tsiolkovsky, which has spent most of a year studying a collapsing star. As they approach the Tsiolkovsky the ship hails them with a most peculiar message; the crew sound intoxicated, out of control. The message ends with the sound of the bridge emergency hatch being blown, killing everybody there. The Enterprise rushes in and an away team beams aboard to investigate. They find the entire crew dead, with the ship littered with evidence of a "wild party". On returning to the Enterprise Geordi begins to display some unusual behaviour, and is confined to sickbay. He soon manages to wander off, and those he comes into contact with quickly begin to display the same strange behaviour - lack of inhibitions and impaired judgement.
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.
|Analysis :||It's unfortunate in the extreme that the very first post-pilot of The Next Generation should be such a direct rip-off of TOS. Indeed, this is virtually beyond a rip-off; it's practically a remake.
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.
|Guest Reviews :||
|YATI :||The episode opens with a shot of the ship flying through space whilst Picard records a log entry saying that the ship is running at Warp 7. However, throughout the scene there are no "warp streaks" visible, just regular stars. This indicates that the ship is actually at sublight speed.
Near the start of the episode the transmissions from the Tsiolkovsky are cut off by a loud bang. Data reports that "What we just heard is... impossible," and goes on to report that it was the sound of the bridge emergency hatch being blown open. So... what's so impossible about that? There's a hatch, it's designed to be blown open, and somebody blew it open. Anybody else might say "That's impossible!" as an exclamation of incredulity, but Data is Mr Literal - something he demonstrates himself in the very next scene. So no, Data, it's not impossible. Not at all. It's simply unpleasant.
Speaking of the hatch, when Riker says that the crew were sucked out, Data corrects him by saying "That's blown out." Later episodes will, of course, make a big deal of the fact that Data cannot use contractions in his speech.
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.
|Great Moment :||Yar seducing Data. You go girl!
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.
|Body Count :||The crew of the Tsiolkovsky, 80 people in all.|
|Factoid :||This is a sequel/remake of sorts of the TOS episode "The Naked Time". Both episodes were intended to provide viewers with a quick guide to the underlying motivations of the characters via a plot device that eliminated their inhibitions.
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.
|Quote :||"You jewel, that's exactly what I wanted to hear!" - Yar to Data on discovering that he is 'fully functional' in matters of sexuality.|
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 103,000||Last updated : 12 Mar 2013|