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Review

Series : The Next Generation Rating : 4
Disc No : 4.1 Episode : 78
First Aired : 22 Oct 1990 Stardate : 44161.2
Director : Cliff Bole Year : 2367
Writers : Lee Sheldon Season : 4
Guest Cast :
Bill Erwin as Dr. Dalen Quaice
Colm Meaney as Miles Edward O'Brien
Eric Menyuk as The Traveller
Moral :
Perspective : The world may be your oyster, just make sure that your whole world isn't the size of an oyster.
YATI : Beverly has to go to engineering to find the way out of the warp bubble at the end of the episode. Yet every time an attempt was made to extract her previously, the apeture appeared wherever she was at the time. Also, LaForge claims that the bubble is collapsing at 15 metres per second and that it will vanish in four minutes. At this point the bubble has already grown small enough to cut off parts of the ship. Is the ship really 3,600 metres long?

At one point Data reports that there are 114 people on the Enterprise and Beverly responds emphatically that there are now "over 900 people" missing. At the end of the episode Data reports that there are 1,014 people aboard and Beverly responds that that is "exact number there should be". If the latter number is correct then there are exactly 900 missing earlier on, not over 900.

Great Moment : The whole concept of the episode is very intriguing. I especially liked Picard trying to justify a half mile long Starship with a crew of two!
Body Count : You might say that everybody in the universe except Beverly ceases to exist. But they're all back by the end.
Factoid : This is the second of the three episodes to feature the Traveller from Tau Alpha C.

This episode features the first mention of "Cochranes" as a measure of warp fields. Named for Zefram Cochrane, inventor of warp drive, the unit will be used in future episodes.

Gates McFadden learned that she was pregnant whilst filming this episode.

Quote : "If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe!" - Beverly to herself. The sheer chutzpah of this statement is staggering.

Beverly : "Computer, what is the nature of the universe?"
Computer : "The universe is a sphereoid region 705 metres in diameter."


Plotline

The Enterprise visits a Starbase, giving Wesley a chance to run an experiment on warp bubbles and allowing the ship to pick up some new crewmembers along with Doctor Dalen Quaice, an old friend and mentor of Dr Crusher. Crusher is worried when Quaice goes missing shortly after departure - and even more concerned when no trace of him ever even existing can be found.

Worry begins to turn to panic when more and more members of the crew start to vanish. All record of them is erased, and nobody but Beverly remembers ever serving with them. All investigation completely fails, with hundreds upon hundreds of people vanishing from the crew until eventually only Picard and Beverly are left. Beverly wonders if she is going mad, whilst Picard blandly insists that the ship has never had or needed any crew before. When Picard himself vanishes, Beverly continues her investigation, and soon comes to realise that something has gone fundamentally wrong with the entire universe...

Meanwhile, back in the real universe the Enterprise-D crew struggle to free Beverly from the warp bubble which she was trapped in, a micro-universe which her own thoughts shaped and which is slowly collapsing around her. All appears hopeless, until an old friend comes to help out...

Analysis

Overall, I like this episode. It's a rare chance to see Gates McFadden in the spotlight, and she does quite well with it. The episode premise is interesting and unusual, and on first viewing I didn't realise what was happening until the reveal towards the end, so it kept me guessing and involved.

I have to say, I was sorry to see the traveller return. He's just not that good a character. For one thing, he has a strange habit of talking as if he's about to fall asleep. For another, he constantly makes statements that come across as the kind of thing that is meant to sound deep, but actually is completely meaningless. "The equations are only the first step; we will be going beyond mathematics... you must open yourself to time and space and the intricate threads that bind them... see past the numbers, trust yourself..." What, exactly, is any of that supposed to mean?

Still and all, a good episode that was fun to watch.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 2,224 Last updated : 18 Aug 2013