During a break period onboard the Enterprise, the ship is seriously damaged when it collides with a quantum filament. There are no communications, power failures occur all over the ship, trapping the crew in different sections.
For example, Picard again must come face to face with his discomfort around children (when they are stuck in a turbolift together, with Picard seriously injured). This is also the episode that Molly is born to Miles and Keiko O'Brien with the help of Worf (since Dr. Crusher is stuck in a cargo bay with Geordi). Data (well, his head only) helps Riker get to Engineering. And, Counselor Troi must take command of the ship for the first time - and if she makes the wrong decision, everyone might perish.
A great action episode, highlighting dramatic tension among the various crewmembers.
Trivia note: Dr. Crusher tries to recruit Geordi into singing in front of an audience.
It works because the characters (and their players) work well together, even outside of routine. Picard's not good with kids, but he's forced to adapt; Worf isn't a doctor, but Keiko's having that baby regardless; and Troi isn't used to a leadership role, but rank forces her to man the bridge (nice use of Ro as her aggressive adviser). Even the subtle image of the Enterprise adrift, with no power is eerie (we never see the model without its lights on; was not ready for that).
Out of catastrophe, a great episode emerges.
Counselor Trio is the the highest ranking officer on the bridge and will have to face a dilemma about sacrificing others to save a few. Captain Picard is along in an elevator with three needy kids. Doctor Crusher and Geordi are in a section that is leaking radiation. Riker and Data will try to gain control of the ship by interfacing Data's electronics to the ship's computer. And Worf is in hot water when Keiko goes into labor in a different part of the powerless ship.
There are many things going on in this episode. In fact perhaps too much - as some interesting situations had to be squeezed in order to return to another part of the story. Some situations were entertaining, like having Trio making hard decisions which was against given advise. Some were less interesting as in the Crusher and Geordi problem. But overall this episode held the viewers attention as we were right in the middle of each person's conundrum. Good watch.
Picard is on the Bridge awarding three children who were the "Science Fair" winners with a complementary tour of the ship- But not The Battle Bridge and Torpedo Bays.
These kids: Marissa, Jay Gordon and Patterson - Whose names are almost the same as the real names of the child actors - Are the highlight of this episode.
The ship hits a quantum filament while:
1) Picard is in the Turbolift with the Children.
2) Crusher and La Forge are in a Cargo Bay practicing "Gilbert and Sullivan"
3) Riker, Worf, Data and Keiko O'Brien are in Ten-Forward and Keiko is ready to have a baby any second
4) Troi is on the Bridge which is under the command of Lt. Monroe (Jana Marie Hupp) and Miles O'Brien is there doing a Transporter Simulation.
These vignettes play out in each of these areas: And Lt Monroe is killed, leaving Troi in charge of Ensign Ro who has crept onto the Bridge from the Turboshaft, and Miles O'Brien.
This is akin to a NYC 3-day power outage - There is NO power anywhere on the ship, and the ship is in confinement protocol: All Bulkheads and TurboLifts are shut and each section of the ship stands alone.
It is not bad enough that Picard, who is uneasy with kids, is trapped in a Turbolift with Three kids who are frightened... But his ankle is broken and so is the Turbolift.
Riker and Data try to get down to Engineering via a maze of Jeffery's Tubes leaving Worf to play Midwife to Keiko!
And Crusher and La Forge are sharing the Cargo Bay with... A Plasma Fire!
This is all that needs to be said, really. As someone else has said, this is Murphy's Law in all of it's glory: Everything that can go wrong, does.
Troi has a devil and an angel in her head: Miles who is sworn to obey anyone who is in command, and Ro who is an Ensign, being TRAINED for Command, and therefore the one who will present Troi with all of the hard choices. The Hard Choices a person in Command has to make in such a situation. This same scenario is given to Troi in Season 7, Episode 16 "Thine Own Self" - And ironically, she does not remember what The First Duty is, as it is revealed to her here like a slap in the face.
Picard has to deal with these kids - And despite his fear of Children, he gets a grip on it, giving each of them a rank and some Pips off of his collar. This is the only way he knows how to do it, and it works. That, and singing "Frere Jacques" while dismantling a control console and using the Fibre Optic Cable as a safety line as they crawl out of the shaft and up.
This is the first and only time the inside of a Turboshaft is shown, and a Turbolift from the outside. It reminds me of the Air Shafts in the Floating City in "Star Wars" The Empire Strikes Back."
Meanwhile, Riker and Data come to a Dead End. Data has to throw his head into it, but finds a way to get to Engineering.
And Crusher and La Forge have a make wind of the situation, killing two birds with one Cargo Hatch.
But as this plays out and Worf helps Keiko give birth to Molly O'Brien, Troi has to decide: Does she need to separate the Saucer Section, or hope that someone in Engineering gets her "Message in a Bottle?"
I loved these kids, and Marissa at least continued her career beyond childhood. One of them (Jay Gordon) Trained to become an Aviator and Patterson, well he vanished just like Brian Bonsall. I remember at least one contest on the back of a cereal box where the winners would have a role on ST:TNG - And I always wonder, when seeing Children in TNG, if these kids won the role that way?
Needless to say after the performance these kids gave as actors and characters, they earned a tour of The Battle Bridge by Picard.
This is a cute but inconsequential episode. Cute because it was nice seeing the Captain with kids, as he's always so uncomfortable around them--but he does manage to bond with them and overcame his awkwardness. Worf's also quite cute as a very uncomfortable midwife!
At first I thought this might be an embarrassing episode; Geordi practicing singing and the captain taking children on a tour of the ship wasn't a promising start thankfully once disaster struck things got interesting. Each of the groups must deal with a different problem; the variety of problems are interesting and in some cases fairly dramatic. The children trapped with Picard were believable scared rather than overly precocious meaning that they were sympathetic rather than annoying. Data's solution to one problem was both inventive and entertaining so much to that I won't post details here! Marina Sirtis does a solid job as Trio; nicely capturing her character's discomfort as she is forced into command and is forced to take a decision that could cost many lives or even lose the ship. With all the drama going on some light relief is provided by Worf acting as a midwife. Overall an entertaining episode that shows several characters acted outside their comfort zones.
Captain Picard HATES children. Hates them. He does not have the perfect answer for them, yet in this episode he handles them like a pro granddad. It's weird and contradictory.
Every so often in long running shows like these we get some filler, and here is a perfect example. No real story development. Nothing was explained. They didn't show how they got the ship back under control really, they just showed that they had averted disaster. The joke at the end about #1 made me want to vomit. I can sum this episode up in one sentence.
Huge miscellaneous problem creates material for a compilation episode of trite old TV plots and disappears unexplained just as fast as it came. fascinating.
Apparently are starting to get a little too comfortable by this point in the series.
Roddenberry's second creation of an elite group exploring space through humanity is a remarkable milestone for not only television but the sci-fi genre itself. As it quips repetitively, it dares go where no one has been before, and analyzes the good and bad of the nature. And it's that wide range of nature that is touched down, in all its hokum that it calls for, the answers are overwhelming to all the questions thrown out to it. Unlike the previous series, it has much more characters to handle which is a double edge sword. On the pro section, it helps writers jump in on diverse categories through them and swoop in as much as material possible through their individual perspective and still keep it all inside a definite and familiar circle.
On the other hand, it also is challenging to fiddle around these many characters on screen, especially the amount of new contents and eerie ideas each episode comes up with, it increases the possibility to lean towards flaws. And yes, it has its own limitation, but in its own gullible range and potential, it just simply works. Plus, what's fascinating is despite of being brimmed with these many personas floating about in the space, they haven't allotted any stereotypical specific characteristics to the characters, their species and nature may definitely vary, but a cheesy note is strictly prohibited in Enterprise-D.
The infamous Capt. Jean-Luc Picard played by Stewart who is mostly known by this role from his career, is exceptionally well crafted character that is simply nothing but a good leader and add Stewart's performance to that, the outcome is your iconic character that survives decades easily. Sirtis as the consciously enhanced counselor fits perfectly in the ship and the makers makes sure either they keep her up front to notify the shady part of the plot or distracts her wisely to advance the plot.
Frakes, once again, a competent leader and warrior that is more explored into love affairs while Dorn as a hot head and Burton as the most adapting and willful learner on the ship helps make the environment more engaging and realistic. Spiner as the android, Lt. Commander Data, who means nothing but business, unfortunately, is the guy that means the least amount of business, often relied upon for the humor, he might be explored thoroughly but is rarely projected with sincerity.
Personally, I prefer Stewart's mellow equation with Wheaten who looks up to him as a father figure and adds the right amount of emotion to it, McFadden's friendly relation too helps on spicing up this dish. The guest cast coming in- often playing the antagonist- invests equally and perpetually to this scoreboard. Advancing further than the previous series did, this journey also brings in rich traditional rituals and their own quirky references to the table. Star Trek: The Next Generation is your typical space ride, floating without any control it grabs everything like a child, and in its innocence and honesty it is one breathtaking ride.
Not the ethical throughout provoking dilemmas, nor the smart innovative concepts, this season is well aware of its audience from now, and the writers willfully fiddles with the characters like puppets and just lets their history and connection with their fans works the charm.
Similar to the blackout episode from "Friends" series except for all the humor, this is much more naturally complex and easily self driven ambitious writing material that to me, defines the sci-fi genre to its best, it is emotional and thought provoking.
This episode is still insanely exciting, but the end scene of where after Picard and his child "crew" leaving the elevator shaft to the nearest open floor, when Marissa, Picard's "first officer", gave him a hug, that hit me in the feels.
This title is the greatest episode of the series and off all ever made! This is most certainly Paul Stompbox revered!
But I clearly remember seeing Riker running down the Enterprise corridors with Data's head under his arm. This scene is missing on the DVD version. One minute we see Riker preparing to remove Data's head after using Data's body to insulate an arcing electrical charge blocking their path in the Jefferies tube. The next time we see them, Riker already has Data's head setting on an engineering panel. The scene in between is completely missing on the DVD and no one seems to have noticed.
So this Star Trek episode is another case of disappearing scenes. I cannot understand why they cut the scene of Riker running with Data's head. It was less than 10 seconds long so no reason to cut it for time.
My other issue with this episode was Ro's constant ranting that everyone was dead and they should dump the ship and leave without them. Yet, the sensors showed there were sporadic life signs after the solar filament impacts and Troi did say she could sense survivors of whom some were injured... yet they allowed Ro to continue to rant about everyone dead and dumping the ship. Quite frankly, I doubt they could have separated with such extensive damages and power loss... not to mention losing magnetic constriction on the warp core.
Then there was Ro's adding power back to the engineering panel on the bridge. As an engineer myself, all that would do would be light up the buttons. It requires signals from the engineering source in order to read any data on the panel or to perform any functions using the buttons. If those panels were dark, that means they were severed from the signal source connection and sticking power on the panel would not restore the signals or functionality.
Troi was completely pathetic in this episode. The children had more sense on this episode than she did in her complete stupor of what needed to be done on the bridge. She sensed people alive on the ship but was still allowing Ro to bully her around & claim everyone was dead... fortunately, finally finding the cajones to stand up to Ro at the last minute. This episode just confirmed the fact that Troi has no business being a regular presence on the bridge instead of performing her job as counselor to a ship with over 1000 people. Troi acted like no one could command the ship without her prior approval of their decisions. Rarely ever doing her REAL job of counseling patients except for a few episodes. But she certainly has time to stick her nose into everyone's personal business and pry without any restraint, then gives them her unwanted two cents. And if they fail to comply with her opinion she wants to relieve them of their job. It is like having a Soviet protocol officer breathing down your neck. Crusher is almost as bad with her opinions.
I like the episode when the nannites were eating the computer core and the scientist studying the 198 year flashover between dual stars told Troi to "Turn off her beam into his sole". It was about time someone threw some cold water on her.
Then there was the episode where she lost her powers due to a swarm of space plankton headed toward a cosmic string and she became a snappy, self consumed brat. Riker put her in her place by saying she was basically an aristocrat control freak. When you rewatch the series, keep an eye on some of the things she says. Not to mention that awful, faded purple jumpsuit. It was about time when the temporary Captain's replacement ordered her to wear a regulation uniform.
It is clear that Berman and Braga have gone out of their way to destroy Roddenberry's Star Trek.
While it was a great idea to focus on the crew interacting personal stories which was what made Star Trek great instead of mindless battles, it was a dumb idea to hire writers who never watched Star Trek. Writers had no business writing for Star Trek if they had never watched it. Braga had no business writing anything. Braga was the one who came up with that dumb Voyager episode where Warp 10 turned them into giant salamanders despite dozens of prior episodes on every Star Trek series where they exceeded warp 10. So this just goes to show he never bothered to watch the series despite writing for over a decade by then.
It is Berman and Braga (& JJ Adams) who have destroyed Star Trek with their latest twisted movie versions. Not to mention that awful year long arc of Xindi episodes. It is clear they hate Roddenberry and are going out of their way to destroy everything he created. They waited until Majel died to completely destroy it and show their contempt. After hearing Roddenberry's youngest son doing an interview, it was clear with his Xgen attitude that we could not count on him to protect his father's beloved series either.
Berman & Braga's first new version film turned the Enterprise phasers into a Star Wars sound effects toy show which included a tattooed Romulan murderous killer whose opening line on the view screen after mass murdering victims is a singsong "helloooo". The destruction of planet Vulcan showed us all just how much they respect Star Trek and the fans. They also forgot it did not have a moon when they destroyed Vulcan.
Many of these issues are related to the interviews during the season this episode was written and the beginning of the decline they caused. So I included a few of these issues rather than comment on every episode.