The Next Generation (TNG) Season 7
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Descent II See TNG season 6
Liaisons Stardate not
given: Picard welcomes two Iyaaran ambassadors
aboard his ship before departing in their shuttle to meet with their leader.
Worf is confronted with Byleth, who does everything to enrage the Klingon. Troi,
on the other hand, finds herself escorting the gentle Loquel, who is longing for
any kind of culinary pleasures. When Picard's shuttle crashes on a hostile
world, and the Iyaaran pilot Voval is knocked out, he finds a human woman, Anna.
She apparently lives there for seven years, after her freighter has crashed.
Picard initially likes the sympathetic woman, but soon notices she is doing
everything to sabotage his attempts of rescue. It turns out that the Iyaarans
arranged this whole scenario to test the human emotion of love, as their two
ambassadors on the ship were to experience rage and pleasure, respectively.
Some aspects are quite amusing, some rather annoying about this episode. The interaction between Deanna and Loquel as well as between Worf and Byleth was quite funny, but never ridiculous. The events on the Enterprise may have been intended as the secondary plot, but they made up for the rather contrived main story that involved Picard and the alleged lonely human woman. In my opinion there is a huge logical flaw already in the Iyaarans' intention to explore the human(oid) emotions of rage, pleasure and love. They were so well prepared for their roles that no one of the Enterprise crew ever noticed that it was only a test, a problem already known from DS9: "If Wishes Were Horses". If the Iyaarans really don't know any of that, they must have done a good deal of research, and must have rehearsed it a lot. In other words, there would have been no need for a live test. In particular, as they should have anticipated that they would annoy their hosts already at their first contact. Moreover, the Iyaarans should have been in contact with other alien races before, considering that they seem to have comparably advanced warp technology and how much they already knew about the outside world. It makes no sense that they would test the basic principles that they should know are common to all races except for themselves.
Remarkable facts: This episode shows the Ktarian chocolate puff, made of 17 types of chocolate. If only flavored TV would already exist! Terellians are mentioned to have four arms which will later be contradicted in Voyager.
47215.5: Fitted with a new interface that converts sensor data to VISOR inputs,
Geordi is ready to take on the retrieval of the lost USS
Raman which is stuck in the atmosphere of gas giant Marijne VII. Geordi is sad
to hear that the USS Hera, his mother's starship, is missing with all hands,
but he carries on with the mission. He receives sensor inputs that seem to
indicate that his mother is still alive and her starship located still lower in
the atmosphere, but this turns out to be a message by lifeforms which are
trapped on the Raman and need to be brought back to their realm in the lower
Gambit I/II Stardate
47135.2/47160.1: It seems Picard was vaporized in a
bar weeks ago, but Riker, unwilling to accept that his captain is dead, follows
the trace of the possible murderers to Barradas III. Suddenly the away team is ambushed by
a group of mercenaries. They kidnap Riker who is surprised to find Picard alive
- as one of them. Taking a cue from Picard who plays the archeologist
"Galen", Riker assumes the role of a renegade Starfleet officer eager
to follow them. The Enterprise follows the mercenary ship to Calder II which is,
like Barradas III, the home of a Romulan offshoot civilization. Picard and Riker play their parts by firing a low-level phaser
burst that leaves the Enterprise unharmed but impresses the mercenary leader,
Baran. Tallera, an alleged Romulan, reveals to Picard that she is actually
Vulcan and that the mercenaries are seeking an ancient psionic Vulcan weapon.
When they finally reach Vulcan to deliver the weapon to an underground movement,
Tallera turns out to be among those who want the weapon. With the power of her
bad thoughts she kills the other mercenaries, only to see that the weapon is
useless against those who don't share the hatred.
47225.7: Data becomes troubled by
disturbing nightmares from his dreaming program, including a "cellular
peptide cake" in the shape of
Deanna Troi and workmen apparently disrupting a plasma conduit. When Data begins
seeing strange mouth images on his crewmates and finally stabs Deanna into the
shoulder, he is confined to quarters. Beverly, examining Deanna, finds an
interphasic creature just where the wound is located. These lifeforms are
extracting cellular peptides from their victims. With the help of Data's dreams
which symbolized the effects of the alien attack, a high-frequency interphasic
pulse is devised to expel the creatures.
Dark Page Stardate
47254.1: Lwaxana Troi seems to be tired, even
depressive, in the presence of the telepathic Cairn who until recently didn't
have a spoken language. When Lwaxana breaks down, Maques, one of the Cairn,
discovers that some buried traumatic memory must have resurfaced. Maques acts as
a telepathic bridge, so Deanna can read her mother's mind, but she doesn't find
a definite clue. When she reads Lwaxana's diary, she finds that seven years have
been deleted. The reason is that Lwaxana's first daughter Kestra drowned in a
lake a long time ago. Feeling guilty about this tragical accident, she
suppressed any memory of Kestra.
47304.2: The Enterprise visits Kesprytt because the Kes, unlike their xenophobic
neighbors on the planet, the Prytt, have applied for Federation membership. When
Picard and Beverly beam down, the transporter beam is redirected and they are
taken prisoners by the Prytt. They manage to escape with the help of a Kes
agent, but they discover that they are telepathically linked to each other, so
that Beverly learns that Picard was once attracted to her. On the Enterprise the
Kes have installed a security office, and their behavior soon becomes as
paranoid as that of their enemies. Riker finally tells them to leave, with the
remark that the UFP will definitely turn down their application. After reaching
the Kes border, Picard and Beverly can finally be beamed up again.
Force of Nature Stardate
47310.2: When the Enterprise searches for the missing medical ship Fleming in
the Hekaras Corridor - the only safe route through an area filled with tetryon
particles - a Ferengi ship suddenly opens fire. DaiMon Prak claims that his ship
has been disabled by a Federation buoy, and the Enterprise is attacked the same
way only a few hours later. It turns out that Rabal
and Serova, brother and sister from Hekaras, want to prevent all ships from
engaging warp drive in the corridor, for they think warp drive destroys the
fabric of space. Serova sacrifices herself by opening a subspace rift in which
her ship is destroyed, thereby proving that their theory is correct. The
Federation declares a general warp speed limit of Warp 5, to prevent further
damage until a solution to the problem is found.
47410.2: While the Enterprise is helping in reheating
the cooling magma core of Atrea IV, Juliana Tainer, married to one of the
participating scientists, introduces herself as Soong's ex-wife and, in a manner
of speaking, Data's mother. When
pressed, she tearfully admits that she was against Data's creation and wanted
him dismantled when they left, all because of fears he could become like evil Lore.
On Atrea IV her husband is injured in a plasma cave. When Data joins her there, the
instability forces them to jump from a cliff and her arm is severed, confirming
his guess that she is an android. When Soong's real wife died, he implanted her
memory into this new body which imitates the human functions much more perfectly
than Data, so that even Juliana herself has no idea that she is an android.
47391.2: After returning from a victorious bat'leth
competition, Worf notices that reality changes from one moment to another,
beginning with the color of his birthday cake. The changes become more severe,
and at some point he is not able to return fire during a Cardassian attack
because the console configuration suddenly becomes unfamiliar - causing Geordi's
death. Also, he is now married to Deanna and he is the ship's first officer
under Captain Riker. The only constant is that Geordi was always close to Worf
when he slipped into another reality. Data finds out that Worf's quantum flux is
out of sync with the rest of the universe, and the VISOR's subspace pulse
triggers his transition from one quantum universe to another. Wesley discovers a
subspace fissure where countless of these universes intersect and which widens
after an attack by the powerful Bajorans of this universe, so that thousands of
Enterprises from the different universes keep popping up. Finally the correct
Enterprise for Worf to return to is found, but as Worf is on his way, he is
attacked by an Enterprise that wants to prevent his return because in their
reality they are among the last survivors of a successful Borg attack. Captain
Riker orders to fire at them, and the weakened ship explodes. The rift is
finally sealed when Worf reaches his own universe, and he also travels back in
time just prior to his birthday surprise party - but the surprise is that there
is no party in his universe, but just a visit by Troi who has a present for him.
The Pegasus Stardate
47457.1: Admiral Erik Pressman leads the Enterprise on a mission to recover the
USS Pegasus which he and Riker, at that time one of his junior officers, had
to abandon years ago. He doesn't tell Picard the whole story, and he demands
that Riker be silent about the events on the Pegasus. Actually, Pressman was
testing a phase cloaking device, illegal according to the Treaty of Algeron, the
crew mutinied, and the few crew members loyal to their captain had to leave the
ship. When they discover traces of the ship, Pressman orders the Enterprise to
enter a narrow rift leading into the interior where they find the Pegasus,
partially submerged in the solid rock. Obviously the phase cloak suddenly
failed. Aboard the Pegasus Pressman and Riker are going to salvage the cloaking
device, but a Romulan warbird has sealed the entry to the asteroid, leaving the
Enterprise trapped. Riker reveals Pressman's secret, and the phase cloaking is
installed on the Enterprise, so that the ship can pass through the solid rock.
In open space Picard orders the cloak to be deactivated, because he wants to
make Pressman's violation of the treaty public.
47423.9: Nikolai Rozhenko, Worf's foster brother, has been living on the
primitive planet Boraal II for some time, where he played more than just a
cultural observer. When the planet's atmosphere is about to dissipate and the
rest of the crew is just watching how every living being dies, Nikolai has
created a duplicate of the caves on Boraal on the holodeck in order to save at
least some of the natives. Picard and Worf are outraged, but now they have to go
along with Nikolai's plan. One Boraalan, Vorin, accidentally steps out into the
Enterprise, and when he can't cope with this new
experience, he commits suicide. A new home for the people is found and the
Boraalans are transferred there. Nikolai stays with them.
Sub Rosa Stardate
47500.0: Following her grandmother Felisa Howard's
funeral on Caldos IV, Dr. Crusher finds diaries revealing that the old woman had
a young lover named Ronin. Ronin appears to have romanced her family's women for centuries. Ned
Quint, a friend of her grandmother, warns Beverly about Ronin, but after
some odd sensations of pleasure she is finally ready to resign from Starfleet.
When Ronin kills Ned, then disables Picard, Data and Geordi and finally
reanimates her grandmother's body, Beverly has to kill Ronin, who is actually an
This episode leaves the wrong impression that the writers may have forgotten that TNG is a science fiction series. Because "Sub Rosa" has little Star Trek in it but very much of a gothic novel. The idea about a secret in the Howard family isn't bad, it only should have been presented appropriately. But the episode just takes too much pleasure in exploiting all the common clichés about ghosts, mysterious buildings, haunted objects and frightening thunderstorms that should be totally anachronistic in the 24th century and already are today. Moreover, the story is gratuitously set on a planet that is modeled after old Scotland. All the small ingredients that were supposed to spice up the story only made me yawn. And as if all this were not yet enough, in the climax of bad taste Ronin resurrects Felisa Howard's body from her grave! Like in a cheap horror flick. This may be easily the most appalling scene in Star Trek's history so far.
Apparently in an attempt to throw in at least a little bit of science fiction, the writers incorporated well-known tropes, such as yet another series of malfunctions on the ship and yet another energy lifeform responsible for that (essentially the same as "Redjac" in TOS: "Wolf in the Fold"). However, the comparably quick revelation that everything is the work of an "anaphasic lifeform" is only the Trek-like technobabbling justification of something that would have gone unexplained, i.e. simply called a "ghost" in fantasy or mystery shows.
But most of all Beverly's weakness is frustrating in this episode because it is so out of character. Comparing this Beverly to the self-confident woman of earlier seasons or the courageous one that solved the case in TNG: "Suspicions", it is like we are dealing with two different individuals. And regardless of the alien influence on her that may excuse her unusual behavior, it does a disservice to Beverly's character. I think it is latent sexism that women in Star Trek, at least occasionally, are shown as if only the right guy needed to come along (preferably an alien or otherwise superhuman macho), and after a few days they would abandon their career and all of their principles. As Picard puts it, "Beverly is not that spontaneous", but this doesn't make it more plausible that it looks like she has made a conscious decision, that she is apparently willing to remain under Ronin's influence. Picard contributes at least a few redeeming qualities in the form of a good deal of common sense. Another interesting aspect is how openly Beverly and Deanna talk about the sexual part of her relationship with Ronin.
Nitpicking: Ronin says that already the first ancestor of Beverly he met 800 years ago was named Howard. So did all the women of Beverly's family in about thirty generations keep their last name? Extremely unlikely. Moreover, Beverly would have been the very first to break with this tradition.
Background information: The story of "Sub Rosa" was submitted by freelance writer Jeanna F. Gallo, later adapted by Jeri Taylor and developed to a screenplay by Brannon Braga. The similarities of "Sub Rosa" to The Witching Hour by Anne Rice are coincidental, and Jeanna F. Gallo is a real person, not a pseudonym for Anne Rice.
Lower Decks Stardate
47566.7: Four young Enterprise ensigns, Nurse Ogawa,
Taurik, Sito Jaxa and Sam Lavelle are expecting their promotions. It seems that Lavelle and
Sito are both up for the same job as ops relief. Sito, who was involved in the
accident in Wesley's squadron at Starfleet Academy, receives a severe lecture by
Picard and a strange lesson in self-defense by Worf, while Nurse Ogawa has to
deal with a Cardassian, and Ensign Taurik is to shoot at a shuttle with a
phaser. The reason is that Sito is going on an undercover mission where she is
to disguise as the Cardassian's prisoner, to infiltrate the Cardassian Union.
The mission fails, and the two are probably killed. Lavelle's promotion at this
cost leaves a bad feeling in him, but the friends and Worf keep bolstering and
comforting each other.
Thine Own Self Stardate
47611.2: When retrieving radioactive debris from a
downed probe on pre-industrial Barkon IV, Data loses his memory and unwittingly
spreads the fragments throughout a village. Data befriends a family and
especially their daughter Gia. But when the villagers are showing more and more
signs of radiation sickness, they put the blame on the strange looking man. They
finally lynch and bury him, but the Enterprise manages to locate and salvage
him. In the meantime, on the Enterprise, Deanna has passed her last exam for
promotion to commander, the subject of which was to be able to condemn one crew
member to death in order to save the ship.
47615.2: A comet discovered by the Enterprise is found
to be the archive of the ancient D'Arsay civilization. Soon parts of the
starship are being converted to artifacts of this culture. The program
also targets Data and makes him impersonate different iconic
characters. Eventually, Picard and the others deduce that Masaka, the
most feared character, and her pursuer, Korgano, share a cycle much like Earth's sun and moon. With time
running out and direct override impossible, Geordi finally locates the
archive's transformational program just in time for Picard to assume the
"mask" of Korgano and "chase" Masaka off her temple throne.
Once Masaka is subdued, both the ship and Data return to normal without the
whole society of characters that were once within him.
Eye of the Beholder Stardate
47622.1: The unexpected suicide by promising young Lt. Kwan in the
plasma stream of the warp coils is baffling to all those who
knew him. When Deanna visits the site for the first time, she is overwhelmed
and fear. It is found that while the Enterprise was being built at Utopia Planitia that an engineer named Walter Pierce
found his lover embracing another man and killed them both. The guilt he felt caused him to commit suicide by throwing his body into the
plasma stream. Being partially empathic Pierce's experience was imprinted into the bulkhead. When
Kwan found it he acted out that experience. Deanna Troi being empathic also
feels these experiences but is stopped in time.
47653.2: After Data and Picard return from retrieving a wayward demonstration
torpedo, they find the ship without control and the crew mutated to what seems
lower lifeforms. Deanna is an amphibious lifeform, Riker an Australopithecine.
While Picard is being chased by Worf, who has turned into a massive monster,
Data discovers that a synthetic T-cell which Dr. Crusher has given to Barclay to
fight a flu, has activated the crew's dormant introns. Barclay was turned into a
spider. Only the new-born kittens of Spot are immune while Spot herself is now
an iguana. With the help of Nurse Ogawa who is now a primate Data is able to
find a remedy to reverse the de-evolution.
Journey's End Stardate
47751.2: According to the peace treaty Picard is forced to remove Federation
settlers from colonies which are now in Cardassian territory. On of these
colonies is Dorvan V, where American
Indians have found a new home after they have escaped the cultural assimilation
on Earth. Wesley arrives, and he is surprised when the Indian Lakanta tells him
that he should find his own way. Wesley decides to resign from Starfleet.
Lakanta reveals himself to be the Traveler and takes Wesley on his journey. The
Indians decide to stay on Dorvala V, even under Cardassian supervision.
47779.4: When Alexander shows little interest in
warrior training, Worf takes him to a Klingon outpost's Kot'baval festival,
celebrating the battle between Kahless and the tyrant Molor. They are almost
killed by an assassin apparently from the Duras family. A strange man named
K'mtar shows up, who claims to be a friend of the family. When the Duras sisters
are confronted with the knife that was used to attack Worf and Alexander they
find the seal of B'etor's son, but B'etor only just learned
herself that she was pregnant. It turns out that K'mtar is Alexander from the
future who is going to avoid to become a pacifist diplomat who couldn't help his
father when he was assassinated in the Klingon High Council.
47829.1: DaiMon Bok blames Picard for his son's death
in the Battle of Maxia, and he threatens to kill Jason Vigo, Picard's possible
son. DNA tests prove that Jason Vigo, who has had a troubled life after
his mother's death, is Picard's son. Bok uses a subspace transporter to kidnap
Jason. In the meantime a genetic defect is brought to light that Jason can't have
inherited from either his mother or Picard. Actually, his DNA has been resequenced to
match Picard's. The captain uses the risky subspace transporter too, and once
again he reveals Bok's unprofitable intentions to his crew who relieve him of
47869.2: The holographic Orient Express gets out of control, when it runs
through Data's program of "The Tempest". Amazingly, Data and
Geordi find a network of
self-erected nodes cross-connecting ship's functions, much like a lifeform's
neural web. They discover that characters in the train program represent various
functions of the ship. The ship begins reproduction by creating a new lifeform
in a cargo bay, and all this is reflected in the train. When the new lifeform
needs more verteron particles and the natural sources are exhausted, Geordi
launches a photon torpedo into a nebula to generate them. The new lifeform
leaves the ship with unknown destination.
Preemptive Strike Stardate
47941.7: Newly promoted Lieutenant Ro Laren is asked
to infiltrate the Maquis which is an organization of Federation colonists who
fight the Cardassians. She soon gets the attention of the group and proves
herself trustworthy when she helps stealing medical supplies from the
Enterprise. Ro is subsequently torn between her loyalty to Picard who always
supported her and her new sympathy for the people and the cause of the Maquis.
When Ro is supposed to lure the Maquis into a trap, she defects.
All Good Things Stardate
47988: Picard finds himself slipping from one time to
another: the present - seven years in the past, when he first took command of the
Enterprise - and twenty-five years into the future, when his crew has scattered
or resigned from Starfleet. He thinks that his time travels may be connected to
an anomaly in the Neutral Zone, when suddenly Q appears and puts him on trial
like he did seven years ago. Q admits that he is responsible for the time travel
but claims that Picard was, is and will be responsible for the death of all
humanity. He then takes Picard to primordial Earth where amino acids are supposed
to combine, but they don't do that because of an anomaly visible in the sky that
Picard is supposed to have caused. The captain and his various crews can't figure
out what this anomaly, which is larger in the past, is about, until Picard gets
the idea that it's an effect of anti-time. Picard will create the anomaly by
scanning the same region of space with an inverse tachyon beam in three
different times, and this will cause an anomaly to grow backward in time. When
finally the damage is repaired in the course of which all three Enterprises have
been (temporarily) destroyed, Picard is back in his normal time, and he takes
the opportunity to join his senior crew's weekly poker game for the first time.
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