For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here
Overview – The Enterprise finds the wreckage of freighter that has been missing for seven years. They trace the path of three of the freighter’s escape pods to Angel I, a planet whose society is a strict matriarchy. As Riker and his away team search for the survivors, Picard and the crew aboard the Enterprise start succumbing to a nasty viral infection. Doctor Crusher searches for a cure, and Riker finds himself caught between his interest in Angel I’s leader and freeing the surviving freighter crew who are wanted criminals on the planet.
Score: 4/10 – This is a typical Season 1 TNG episode. Away team beams to a planet, trouble ensues, one of the team has to make a choice. When you look at this episode, it really isn’t anything special. It seems that they could have made some better choices, but it seems like the story writing was rushed. There are some, shall we say, interesting artistic choices made. Riker’s outfit he wears is certainly interesting. While the choice to have a matriarchal society show the same sort of sexist attitude towards men as patriarchal societies have been known to be towards women is a nice twist, it seems a bit forced. The message on gender equality is fairly ham-fisted. Sometimes, that method of delivery works. In this episode, not so much. Added to that the nasty cold bug that takes down the entire ship is eventually cured, it made for a very weak B-story. It just seemed that the whole illness was resolved without any real threat. Even when the Enterprise was being called to the neutral zone to deal with a potential Romulan incursion, there did not seem to be a real danger.
Relevance – 1 point. This is the first time in TNG that the Romulans are mentioned, and they are causing some concerns in the neutral zone. While nothing much develops from this, they will finally show themselves in the season finale “The Neutral Zone”.
Continuity – 2 points. Universe continuity is going to take a hit here. Wesley and his friend are on the holodeck, and they are throwing snowballs at each other. One of them throws a snowball that triggers the holodeck doors to open, and it hits Worf and Picard as they are walking by. According to laws of the holodeck, the snowball should have dematerialized upon leaving the holodeck. Character continuity, on the other hand, is fully intact. Riker especially was in full Riker form. Never met a lady he didn’t want to see if he could get something going with. Story wise there is nothing disruptive in the story continuity, so that will also score a point.
Character Development – 1 point. This is mostly a Riker episode, but other than giving him a beautiful lady to make out with, it really does not do much for him as far as development. Geordi is left in command of the Enterprise after Picard succumbs to the illness, but if you want to see more of his command abilities then I would recommend “The Arsenal of Freedom” instead.
Social Commentary – 1 point. This was interesting from the point of view that it turned the traditional patriarchy system upside down and reversed the roles of the two genders. On Angel I the women are in charge and the men are subservient to them. An interesting twist, though it really did not say much on the subject. What did seem to be the message was that such systems are prone to being challenged and eventually changed. Riker refers to it as not revolution, but evolution. The women of Angel I choose to exile the freighter survivors and those who follow them instead of executing them, delaying the eventual evolution of their culture. While over all it is a happy resolution, ultimately there is little else that we can take away from this episode.
Cool Stuff – 1 point. I will give a point for Worf’s cold in this episode. He did have the best line in the episode when he claimed he was going to sneeze. La Forge asks him if it’s a Klingon sneeze, to which Worf responds “It’s the only kind I know”. His sneeze was indeed very worthy of a Klingon, and it was one of the few memorable parts of the episode.
Rank- Ensign (10 points). A good example of how shaky the first season of TNG was. The writers are trying to find their footing with the characters while trying out new stories, and quite often it just did not work well. I acknowledge the hard work everyone did on this episode, but I do think that this episode could have been a lot better if the crew were a bit more experienced. Of course, I have to say that the outfit that they had Riker wear was one of the most…interesting costume designs I have ever seen.
If you would like to read other reviews from the Next Generation, click this link.
If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.