Tue
Apr 3 2012 3:30pm
Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Devil’s Due”

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due“Devil’s Due”
Written by Philip LaZebnik and William Douglas Lansford
Directed by Tom Benko
Season 4, Episode 13
Production episode 40274-187
Original air date: February 4, 1991
Stardate: 44474.5

Captain’s Log: Data is playing Ebenezer Scrooge on the holodeck while Picard observes — in much the same way he watched Data play Henry V — and then is summoned to the bridge. There’s a distress call from Ventax II — the Federation science outpost on that world is under attack. Apparently the Ventaxians believe their world is coming to an end tomorrow.

The Enterprise arrives just as the scientific outpost is being invaded by an angry mob. The head scientist, Dr. Clark, is beamed to safety on the ship and explains the situation to Picard: Ventax was a society that turned its back on technology a thousand years ago and have remained a peaceful, agrarian society ever since. They made first contact with the Klingons sixty-five years earlier, and have refused to adopt technology that was available to them.

Then, a few years ago, the planet’s head of state, Acost Jared, became obsessed with the legend of Ardra, a major figure in Ventaxian theology. Ventaxian myth held that they, in essence, sold their souls to the devil a millennium earlier in exchange for peace and prosperity, and Ardra was due to return soon and enslave the population. The rest of Clark’s team are being held hostage by a group of Ventaxians.

Jared contacts the Enterprise. He claims that there are signs of Ardra’s return: shaking of the ground (which Clark says are ordinary geological tremors), and visions of Ardra herself. Jared has seen them himself. He does promise to try to see what he can do to free the hostages, as he feels the innocent shouldn’t suffer for their sins.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

Picard beams down to meet with Jared, accompanied by Data, Worf, and Troi. Shortly after their arrival, a woman appears, saying, “Time’s up!” She claims to be Ardra — as well as a similarly devilish figure from other cultures, including Fek’lhr, a creature from Klingon myth who escorts the dishonored dead to Gre’thor. She presents forms that include censuses and economic forecasts to Jared (which appear in her hand).

Jared pretty much kowtows to Ardra’s every whim, but Picard is more skeptical. He insists on viewing the contract, having Data go over every word of it. The rest of the senior staff, along with Clark, meet on the Enterprise. It’s possible she’s another refugee from the Q-Continuum or Q himself, but he wouldn’t bother with a contract — or an economic forecast. Plus everything she does is possible to re-create with technology. Picard has Riker and Worf search for her power source, while La Forge returns to Ventax with Clark to find the source of the tremors.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

Picard goes to the bridge to find Ardra sitting in his chair. Picard attempts to remove her, first via Worf physically and then via the transporter, but she remains on board — pulling Q’s trick of replacing a crewmember, in this case the relief ops officer. Data returns on board and tells Picard that the contract is legitimate, which thrills Ardra, as the contract states that anything on the surface or in orbit is also hers. So she claims the Enterprise before disappearing off the bridge, returning the befuddled looking ops officer.

While Picard isn’t all that concerned over her claim to the ship, he does not wish to turn the Ventaxians over to this woman, whom he is convinced is a con artist, using the fear generated by the Ardra legend for her own purposes. He orders Data to go over Ventaxian legal precedents to try to find some way to challenge the contract.

That night, Ardra visits Picard in his quarters, wearing a very sexy outfit. Picard dismisses her as obvious and vulgar. She alters her outfit into something a bit more Victorian, then changes into Troi — none of which works. So she sends him down to the planet in his bedclothes, and the transporter malfunctions. Data fetches Picard in a shuttle (with a uniform for him to change into), and heads back to the ship. En route, Data describes a precedent involving a Klingon craftsman and a Ventaxian, which was resolved via arbitration rather than the Ventaxian courts because an alien was involved.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

As the shuttle approaches the Enterprise, the ship suddenly disappears completely. Data and Picard return to the science station on Ventax, where they can’t find any sign of the Enterprise anywhere within one light-year. La Forge and Clark detected some energy spikes, and they feel that if they can get Ardra to perform more “magic tricks,” they might be able to triangulate the power source.

Ardra then appears, claiming that the Enterprise is in her possession. Picard requests arbitration, arguing that she is not truly Ardra. Ardra is reluctant — while she has nothing to lose if she really is Ardra, she has nothing to gain, either. Picard tries offering her the location of a rare jewel (hoping, no doubt, to expose her as the treasure seeker she really is), but she refuses, instead requesting that Picard give himself over to her fully, heart and soul (his body’s already hers). Picard agrees, and Ardra names Data as the arbitrator, as he will act without bias. Despite Data’s urging for Picard not to pick him, the captain does so, pointing out that Data’s the only person on Ventax that Ardra can’t intimidate.

The arbitration begins. Jared is the first witness, and he explains the circumstances under which Ventax made the arrangement with Ardra. The planet was in chaos, war-torn, polluted, choked by industrial waste, and falling apart. They agreed to Ardra’s terms because they had nothing to lose. Picard then questions Jared about the history of how the changes came about — over the course of the questioning Picard makes it clear that Ardra had no participation in those changes. She did not remove all the weapons, she did not clean up the environment, she did not advise the council that drew up the constitution, nor did she force the treaties that ended the wars. She made no active participation in the thousand years of peace and prosperity.

La Forge enters the courtroom, at which point Picard requests a recess. La Forge reports that all the extra magic tricks Ardra performed in court to prove her bona fides gave him and Clark enough to trace her. She has a cloaked ship in orbit, and extended that cloak around the Enterprise, combining it with a subspace field to kill communications. La Forge has already penetrated both the cloak and the field and been in touch with the Enterprise.

An hour later, the arbitration resumes. Picard demonstrates that he can “steal” Ardra’s powers. He causes tremors — and Ardra can’t make them stop. Picard pulls a few more of Ardra’s tricks (making her disappear, turning into Fek’lhr), then reveals that a team from the Enterprise beamed over to the cloaked ship and took over the equipment she used to control her “powers.” She’s a con artist with, according to her crew, 23 aliases, who apparently studied the Ardra legends carefully and landed her biggest score: an entire planet. And it would have worked, too, if it hadn’t been for those pesky Federation scientists sending out distress signals...

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

With the revelation that she’s a fake, she is put under arrest and Data declares the contract invalid. Ventax II can return to normalcy, and Ardra is imprisoned. She tells Picard that he would have had more fun if he’d lost, and laughs saying those dreaded words, “Until we meet again.” (They won’t.)

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Ardra creates the illusion of super-powers through the use of holography, force fields, transporter technology, and a cheap copy of a Romulan cloaking device. She controls the tricks via blinks of her eyes.

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi senses an almost suicidal anxiety among the Ventaxians. But she can’t sense anything useful from Ardra, whose thoughts and emotions are very controlled — as you’d expect from a magician, or a con artist.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf is a bit nonplussed by the appearance of Fek’lhr, perhaps because of his discommendation from the Klingon Empire.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

If I Only Had a Brain...: Data has embraced method acting in an attempt to improve his performances. Picard questions this rather old-fashioned style, but Data feels that immersing himself in the emotions of the characters will help him get one step closer to being human. Picard points out that using his own type of acting rather than simply impersonating others (as he did when he was Henry V) is bringing him a step closer.

Amusingly, when speaking Scrooge’s dialogue, Data uses contractions. Nobody comments on this.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

He also makes a dandy judge.

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Ardra hits all over Picard, going so far as to make his giving himself over to her as her prize if she wins the arbitration. At this, she fails rather spectacularly, as Picard evinces no interest in her whatsoever (even though she’s quite dishy).

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

I Believe I Said That: “Mr. La Forge, my reputation as a litigator, not to mention my immortal soul, is in serious jeopardy.”

Picard expressing his concern over how poorly the arbitration is going for him.

Welcome Aboard: Marta DuBois, probably best known as Detective Hansen in the McBride movies on the Hallmark Channel alongside John Larroquette, is entertaining as Ardra, and indeed is the only reason why this episode is in any way watchable. Barely.

Paul Lambert — last seen on TNG as one of the Aldeans in “When the Bough Breaks” — and Marcelo Tubert are fairly blah as Dr. Clark and Jared, respectively.

Trivial Matters: Like “The Child,” this was a script for Star Trek Phase II that was repurposed for TNG. Which explains why it feels so much more like an original series script than a TNG one.

The crew speculates as to whether or not Ardra is a member of the Q-Continuum, and when Picard takes over her technological tricks, he uses a very Q-like finger-snap to cause the tricks to start and stop.

Ardra’s technology is used in the TNG eBook miniseries Slings and Arrows, first in Phaedra M. Weldon’s The Oppressor’s Wrong by a group of Starfleet officers who are aiding in the coup d’état seen in the Deep Space Nine episodes “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost,” then by a group of renegade Klingons in your humble rewatcher’s Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment.

Another being claiming to be the devil, Lucien, appeared in the animated series episode “The Magicks of Megas-Tu.”

Kang said in “Day of the Dove” that the Klingons have no devil, which makes Fek’lhr’s appearance here problematic, though if he escorts people to the bad afterlife, he’s closer to Charon from Greek myth than Lucifer from Christian myth.

It’s amusing to see Picard critiquing Data’s performance in A Christmas Carol, considering that Sir Patrick Stewart would go on to perform the role of Scrooge on stage and screen, including in a one-person production of the entirety of A Christmas Carol, which he did on Broadway for several years in the 1990s and again in 2001. (I was fortunate enough to see it three times, including the 2001 production at the Marriott Marquis which was done as a benefit for people who suffered in the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.)

Proving that there’s no justice in the world, this was the highest-rated episode of TNG since “Encounter at Farpoint.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Devil’s Due

Make it So: “We are not impressed with your magic tricks!” Okay, I understand why “The Child” was reworked into a TNG script. The season was starting late, there’d been a writers strike, they needed to ram something into production quickly to get the second season started.

What the hell was the excuse here? TNG had, at this point, a fairly stable production, with some perfectly good talent floating around. Why did they feel the need to dredge this nonsense up?

This whole thing comes across as a particularly doofy episode of the original series, which is not surprising, given its source. Hilariously, though, the original script had the Enterprise computer as the judge (you would’ve thought it would’ve been Xon, the Vulcan science officer intended to replace Spock, since Leonard Nimoy wasn’t going to participate in Phase II), and the con artist pretending to be the devil was male. Honestly, that part blew my mind when I read it, because I had no trouble imagining Ardra pulling her same shtick on Jim Kirk. Plus, that outfit she wears in Picard’s quarters is right off of William Ware Theiss’s 1967 coat rack...

Anyhow, this is a dumb episode. It’s not even dopey fun. Marta DuBois chews nicely on the role of Ardra, and it’s fun to watch Data chastise Picard from the bench. The courtroom scenes are identical to modern American courts, down to the legal language, which is fairly unconvincing on an alien planet. And overall, it’s just dumb.

Did I mention it was dumb?

 

Warp factor rating: 2


Keith R.A. DeCandido is pleased to announce that his thriller -30-, in collaboration with Steven Savile, will be available for all non-Nook eBook platforms starting this week, as will the other three novellas in the “Viral” series. Do check them out, along with Keith’s other fiction like SCPD: The Case of the Claw, Dragon Precinct and Unicorn Precinct (the third book, Goblin Precinct is due out next month), and Guilt in Innocence. You can order those books, as well as go to Keith’s blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and various and sundry podcasts at his web site.

45 comments
Andrew Willett
1. AndrewWillett
I love this episode despite its weaknesses. Worf’s huffy “You are not Fek'lhr” is one of my favorite Trek moments ever. It’s not something I can explain; the memory of it makes me snicker lo these many years on.
Philippe13
2. Philippe13
After finishing reading the Star Trek rewatch and beginning he TNG rewatch, I was unsurprised to see that I mostly agreed with the critics assessments of the episodes. For this one, however, I have to completely disagree. Devil’s Due is one of my favourite TNG episodes and had it not been revealed in this rewatch post, I never would have known it was a Phase II repurpose. In fact, environmental issues seemed to me to be more “du jour” in the 80s and 90s and in the 60s…but of course, wasn’t around for the latter decade ;)

This episode is fun, well written, and provides enough suspense and doubt about just how everything is happening to make you wonder just who this person really is up until Picard exposes and convinces Jared she is a fraud by using her “magic” against her. Also, making the enterprise disappear was a nice touch!

I especially liked the parts where Picard got Jared to explain that all the progress they’ve made was not because of some mythical god-like creature, but because if their own hard work and progress as a species sharing a planet. I believe the message is even more important today as it touches both the importance of environmental sustainability as well as freedom from servitude to perceived mythical powers.
Margot Virzana
3. LuvURphleb
I love this episode. But like u i think it because of ardra. Her laugh is great. The only thing that bugs me is in season six when the crew meet amanda they never consider she is a Q until Q appears. Yet here they are all over ardra being a Q...
Philippe13
4. dav
Hate this episode. Always hated it. From the moment she turns into the devil with tail and mustache it is a joke. Everything before that is ok, but still kind of dumb.
Joseph Newton
5. crzydroid
I was a little "meh" on this episode--not that good, but not grotesquely bad either.

The one thing I found somewhat troubling is that after proposing the idea that she was using technology to do the tricks, they decided to run with that idea and try and find the power source. It's an acceptable premise and I guess in lieu of anything else you'd try to prove it was technology, but if it had been someone with powers like Q or a douwd, they would've been screwed. I feel like they've encountered enough beings with powers that it could've been a possibility, even if the powerful being was a con and not really Ardra. I guess it was just Picard's instincts and the fact that she seemed to be after an economic forecast.
Joseph Newton
6. crzydroid
Open note to TOR...the website either needs some kind of double post protection or the ability to completely erase comments.
Paul Weimer
7. PrinceJvstin
I don't know...despite its weaknesses, I have a soft spot for this episode.
Keith DeCandido
8. krad
Philippe: Fair enough. Hey, I'm just pleased it took this long for us to disagree. ;) And you do raise some good points....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Philippe13
9. SNuBoi
I usually find myself agreeing with the rewatch, but I have always liked this episode. Geordi's expression when Picard appears in his pajamas always cracks me up, as does the part where Picard tells them to bring him a uniform. And Marta Dubois I think is fantastic.
Philippe13
10. StrongDreams
I would also give this a higher rating. It's competent, engaging, and has some nice dialog. There are better hours of TNG but also many worse.
Justin Devlin
11. EnsignJayburd
I second. It's dumb. One of their worst.

And once again I ask the question: did they or did they not have someone on staff with TNG who checked the scripts for continuity? Some nerd who would have known that Kang did indeed say
"We have no Devil," after being told to "Go to the Devil," by Kirk?

Besides, it's later learned in DS9 that the Klingons killed all of their gods, so therefore it would stand to reason that they have no gods, no devil, nor even some slavering beast who "escorts" the dishonored dead to Gre'thor or whatever (does he do valet parking, too?).

No, the only divine figure the Klingons have is Kahless The Unforgetabble. You know, the first Warrior-King. The guy who turned a lock of his own hair into the first bat'leth. The Klingon who set into motion his planet's tyrannies and was somehow infected by the Augment Virus a thousand years before it ever happened and had an uncanny ability to imitate Surak of Vulcan's voice.

Oh just forget it.

HELP ME, SPOCK!
Philippe13
12. John R. Ellis
Yes, the script is weak.

Yes, the plot is goofy.

Yes, the performers still manage to give it a few memorable moments. Such as when Ardra tries to seduce Picard by using Troi's image...gah. Such a nice bit of reacting. One could almost see his skin crawling.
Keith DeCandido
13. krad
John: meant to mention this in the main entry, but at this point Gates McFadden was noticeably pregnant (note that we never see her below the upper chest in the episode, including being strategically placed behind people on the bridge). Crusher would have made much more sense in that spot.....

EnsignJayBurd: I'm willing to forgive "The Savage Curtain" because the images all came from Kirk and Spock's minds, and they didn't really know that much about Kahless, which was why he looked like the Klingons they were familiar with and his main contribution to the event was to impersonate Surak.....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Philippe13
14. Seryddwr
I remembered not thinking very much of this episode when it first aired, but I watched it a few days ago in anticipation of the rewatch, and enjoyed it immensely. Not TNG's finest episode by a long chalk, but when it has its moments, it really has its moments. There's Worf's aforementioned incredulous line, Data's delightful teaser... and when he's the one controlling Ardra's ship, Patrick Stewart does such a fabulous job of looking smug! IMHO, an average script that gets nailed by dint of some pretty nifty directing, and everyone in the cast being on top form.
Philippe13
15. John R. Ellis
"Crusher would have made much more sense in that spot....."

Making sense (If you mean, Picard and Crusher have a history) wasn't the point, so much as Ardra trying to throw everything against the wall and see what stuck in the way of attracting Picard. The Captain for some reason tolerates his ship's Counseler dressing in some really ridiculous get-ups? Well, let's see if there's a reason...

It could be seen as an unintentional clue that she wasn't actually a very potent or wise sort of demon.

Then again, these old hack "The crew discovers a being who claims to be a legendary divine or demonic entity" stories never -did- have the being in question put up a good show in that regard.
Philippe13
16. Matt Doyle
Personally, I've always found this episode hilarious -- the acting in a good way, the script in a mixed way, but even the worst moments are still risible and have a sort of B-movie charm to them. I probably wouldn't give it more than a 5 at best, but a 2 seems low to me (not saying you shouldn't give it the rating you feel it deserves, just noting the degree to which I differ).
Justin Devlin
17. EnsignJayburd
@Krad, I suppose I'm willing to forgive "The Savage Curtain" for all of that as well. I was just goofing around. I am not willing to forgive "The Savage Curtain" for being "The Savage Curtain," however. Canonical introductions of mytho-historical figures Surak and Kahless, notwithstanding.
Philippe13
18. Christopher L. Bennett
I didn't love this episode, but I kinda liked it. Ardra was potentially a fun addition to the staid TNG universe, a distaff Harry Mudd with Trelane-style technological trickery. (I liked the contact-lens control interface, a nice bit of futurism I wouldn't have expected from a 1991 TV show.) It might've been nice to see her again, depending on the script. Ron Jones's music was good, I liked the set design, and it's always fun to see Patrick Stewart put on a barrister's wig, so to speak.

Ardra has made one return appearance in tie-in fiction, in issues 36-38 of DC's TNG comic by Michael Jan Friedman. It was the second of two 3-part stories published during a 3-month experiment with biweekly release in 1992, but it was an anticlimax after the previous 3-parter, in which Q turned the whole Enterprise crew into Klingons.

@11: The writers of this episode did remember "Day of the Dove," which is why they made Fek'lhr the guardian of the gates of Gre'thor rather than its master. But Keith, the Greek analogue for Fek'lhr would be Cerberus. The Charon equivalent is Kortar from VGR's "Barge of the Dead."

@17: The main problem with "The Savage Curtain" in retrospect isn't that Kirk and Spock didn't know what Kahless really looked like; it's that Kirk didn't know who Surak was. That's like not knowing who Jesus or Buddha or Muhammad was. (Also its portrayal of Genghis Khan was very racist. Genghis was by far the most successful conqueror in the history of the pre-industrial world, a brilliant leader and politician and a ruthlessly effective warrior. A realistic Genghis would've easily dominated the entire group, not just been a mute henchman.)
Justin Devlin
19. EnsignJayburd
@18, yeah the real Genghis was more like the TNG/DS9 version of Kahless than the TOS Kahless was. He should have pwned the lot of them...
Bob Weld
20. WaitingShadows
I'm glad to see that many commenters did like this episode. I agree with them as to while it is not a serious dramatic episode, it is pretty amusing to watch. Picard and Data both give some of my favorite performances in this episode because, even though they play it straight (as it should be played) understand the humor well enough to show a wonderful comedic timing. The courtroom antics are fantastic (both winning and losing):

Picard: But your honor...

Data: Sir, I have ruled, please sit down.

Or

Ardra: And I suppose you want a 1000 year old witness?

Picard: That would be sufficient.

I would describe this epsode as an amusing romp, and I like it just for the change in tempo from the norm. Granted, I imagine a good amount of people watch Trek for the drama, so I can see how this wouldn't be seen as a good episode at all to some.
Jenny Thrash
21. Sihaya
Oh krad, I did like this episode because I thought it was goofy fun. But I can easily see that if someone didn't have "fun," the quality would rate as low as you've said.
John Naas
22. crucislancer
I haven't seen this episode in years, kinda fun but no where near the best TNG episode around.

When I first saw it, I thought the actress that plays Ardra looked familiar, but couldn't place her. When I saw this thread I realized where it was I remember her from, she was on the show "Tales of the Gold Monkey" with Stephen Collins.
Philippe13
23. Mike Kelm
I agree with everyone that this was a really, really dumb episode that was admittedly kind of fun (and I remember my teenage self being very interested in the actress who played Ardra).

But on later reflection, I just have this one really dumb question. The Klingons have cloaks as do the Romulans (shared technology from a couple of centuries ago). But I get the impression that these things aren't that common and technologically difficult. Where does Ardra happen to get one that works that well? I understand how empires get a cloak that can hide from the flagship of the Federation, but some two-bit con artist?
Philippe13
24. Matt Doyle
Mike @23... she probably conned it off of a Klingon or a Romulan.
Philippe13
25. Electone
Have to disagree with the reviewer here. A "2" is pretty harsh for this fun episode. Every season needs a few lighter episodes and this one does a fine job in that sense. A little mystery, some humour, a hot babe as the antagonist - what's not to like?
Philippe13
26. StrongDreams
@23,
As I recall, in "The Emissary" it was established that current Federation sensor technology could track the older (TOS era) cloaking device, but the E-D was warned in advance and knew what to look for. My in-universe explanation is that Ardra bought or scammed an older cloaking device that the Enterprise could have tracked had they known more specifically what to look for. And of course, when the Enterprise "disappeared", Picard &co. were reduced to the comparatively poor sensors on the shuttle and the ground-based sensors of the science station. The Enterprise didn't know they had vanished, only that communications were cut off.
Justin Devlin
27. EnsignJayburd
@26. StrongDreams,

That's still a pretty convincing performance for a "bad copy" of a Romulan cloaking device. That just makes the Enterprise crew look inept, or at best behind in technology. I hate when the writers do that. Even shuttle sensors should be able to detect a "bad copy" of anything known.
Philippe13
28. StrongDreams
@27,
Maybe yes, maybe no. The question is, if your ship appears to vanish in front of your eyes, how long do you reasonably hang around looking for it? If you suspect a cloaking device, and that the ship is right there, then sure, you do some intense scans and you should find it. But, if you are also thinking that it might have been moved, either by technology or Q-powers (and we have seen both before), then maybe you don't hang around. Maybe you worry that you also might vanish and it's safer to be down on the planet.

What kind of search you do and how long you do it depends tremendously on your starting assumptions. That's true today in every endeavour and I don't see any reason for it to change just with improved technology. It's human nature. (The scanners are not portrayed as omniscient, scanning things takes time and the more thorough you scan the longer it takes.)

Now, did the writers think it through this thoroughly? Of course not. Which is why I gave an "in-universe" explanation. The actual reason that Picard could not detect the Enterprise is that the law of narrative causality was in effect.
Jane Smyth
29. Kaboom
Ardra's ship was cloaked and the Entreprised could not detect it, that I can buy. What I have problem with is that once the ship hid the Entreprise by extending its cloak around it, then the ship should be visible to the crew on the Entreprise since they are both inside the cloak.
But that they had to wait for Geordie to tell them there was a ship... that makes no sense.
Philippe13
30. Rob B.
As with many things, YMMV. Personally, I found more to like in this episode than not, and it's one I would recommend. The only issue I have with it is that I can't see how some of Ardra's tricks are possible even with the technology. Replacing the crew member without anybody noticing, for example, and cloaking the Enterprise without Riker being able to do anything about it.

But yeah, I think it's pretty enjoyable. The scene where Picard demonstrates how he can "steal" Ardra's powers and seems to enjoy flaunting them is particularly fun to watch.
Philippe13
31. jocyeman
The actress playing Ardra also played Magnum's long lost French Vietnamese wife Michelle in Magnum PI. She was smoking on that show and smoking here as well.
Michael Burstein
32. mabfan
Keith, maybe I have no taste (), but count me as one of the viewers who really liked this episode. This is one of the episodes that I would watch again if I came across it channel-surfing. DuBois is great, and I love her interactions with the regular cast.

Others have made the points I would have made about why it was so good, but one of the things I love about this episode is the idea of a 1000-year-old contract that the society remembers and thinks it's time to fulfill. I love stories that delve into how a long-ago historical event can have significant relevance in the present time. And I also love the idea of a con artist trying to exploit that story.

-- Michael A. Burstein
Philippe13
33. General Vagueness
I don't get the dislike for this episode. It doesn't hold up as well on repeat viewings when you know how it ends, and I personally am not so fond of the way everything is demystified, but it's entertaining, there's tension, there's mystery, there's a battle of wits; there are elements of legal procedurals, futurism, history, and the art of the con for people who like any of those; pretty much every response and reaction feels as real as can be hoped for, and it has some moments that are pretty funny. It also shows the Klingons don't subjugate every planet they come across, which adds an element to them that I think is realistic, and if not it's at least one I like.
Joseph Newton
34. crzydroid
@29--Quite possibly a genuine plot hole.

However, since the Enterprise systems were somehow being jammed (such as the transporter, communications), perhaps the sensors (even basic sensors) were jammed as well. That still doesn't explain how someone managed to notice a ship out of a window... (though if the persons(s) who saw it didn't know that the bridge didn't know there was a ship, would they know to report it?)

I can't remember now if the crew was able to overcome the damping field once told about it, or if Geordi had somehow done something to disrupt it from the surface.
Philippe13
35. Paul K. Bisson
Dipped into this wonderful re-watch blog once before ("Best of Both Worlds") and tried to leave a comment, which grew into a few paragraphs, and then a few more. It suddenly occurred to me that I was writing a review and not a response to one. So I scrapped it and moved along.

But recently I was reminded of this blog and since TNG is my all-time favorite TV series, I'll give it another go and try to keep my tangents in check.

For this episode, all I can say si this: the devil is in the comments. The responses here do a better job at explaining why "Devil's Due" works than Keith's review does at deeming it dumb. And I can only follow suit; I love this episode. It's fun! The first real fun the season has had. DuBois plays Ardra so deliciously over-the-top against Stewart's uniform restraint. Great bits and business handled by Spiner. Good character moments throughout.

Look, this is an episode about Picard beating a con artist at her own game. To that end, I loved it. Not a 10 but nowhere near a 2.
Philippe13
36. FellKnight
Keith,

I think you missed the mark in this episode's rating. I am not sure why you seem to have such a hate-on for the subject matter or execution, but I found it to be a very enjoyable, and mostly believable episode. It has much in common with the majority of TNG's shows that are purely episodic in nature, the acting was solid on all fronts, and the comedy was enjoyable. If not for tour-de-forces such as "Best of Both Worlds Part 1", I'd rate this as high as an 8 or 9. As is, I'd go with a 7.
Fell
NICKOLAS POLISKEY
37. jlpsquared
@33,

I love this episode, and I think I can explain the hatred for it. I love Krad, but I sometimes feel like because he is a writer, he is (no offense), a little bit of a prude. Because this was a re-used script from TOS, it MUST be bad. I have noticed consistently in the TOS re-writes, the "intellectuals" never like them, while the rest of us pond-scum love them. The other thing that really bugs me about this is that whenever someone makes fun of a TNG episode, you always hear this:"it was like a TOS script" Why is TOS all of a sudden so rotten? During the 1st 2 seasons of TNG all the talk was if it could live up to TOS. But now after BOBW, all of a sudden, bad TNG is run of the mill TOS. I HATE when I see that crap in comments.

Secondly, if you took this story, took out all the star trek elements, and published it as regular sci-fi, I think there is a good chance you would win a hugo. This story is CLASSIC sci-fi. Sorry folks, gotta get back to making mediocre episodes about androgonous dorks making out with Riker..... I really can't stand that people stick their nose at this wonderful, and yes SMART, episode. I would take this any day over the boring-watching paint dry- season 5-7 crap they fed us.

The only complaint of this episode I have is the point commenter #5 made, which is what if it was a Q or something that DID have god powers? It is not like Picard has never met anything like that before.
Philippe13
38. USER
I thought it was dopey fun, and a welcome Original Series throwback in the midst of the frequent DIDACTIC SPACE TALK SHOW that so often was TheNG. Come now, Ardra is the first TheNG guest star who manages to be sorta sexy, and her kwik transistion to Drooling Kingon Satan is just delightful. Overall, I'd say this episode is a nice companion to STrek animated episode "MEGA-DUDE'S MAGIK" wherein we learn Lucifer is not a con chick, but really a friendly, misunderstood, transdimensional chap.
Elizabeth Heckert
39. silhouettepoms
Maybe it's cause I watched this show as a kid and didn't have high expectations of it, but I always thought this episode was amusing. Especially I remember thinking omg, how IS she doing it... IS she the devil? or ... Of course when you're a kid you aren't jaded enough to realize, that she would certainly be exposed by the end of the ep, LOL.
Philippe13
40. Grey Lensman
It's interesting that my two absolute favorite ST:NG episodes score a 2 and a 9 with Keith. I absolutely loved both Devil's Due and Darmok, and am amazed at how much Keith agrees with me on one and disagrees on the other ;-D

Like everybody else said, I just found this to be a lot of fun. Not brilliant, but so fun I'd rate it a 9 anyway. Oh well, to each their own!

And just a brief shout-out from the old GEnie days! You've come a long way, Keith ... congratulations!
Philippe13
41. Bernadette S. Marchetti
IIRC, LaForge mentioned that the ship was hiding out above the magnetic pole, and in previous episodes, ships that did just that were "hidden". In fact, I think even the Enterprise tried that trick a time or two. So despite the fact that the cloaks extended to the Enterprise, the jamming and hinding out in the magnetic pole and the fact that they really didn't know what to look for or where, I can understand why they didn't see her ship. But I could be wrong....
Philippe13
42. Kyle W. Grove
Reading the rewatch with great interest and mostly in agreement. However, I was genuinely surprised this was rated a 2; it's a fun, slightly clever, unserious episode (4-6 land). It's certainly better than most any Lwaxana Troi episode, and probably better than the average Season 1 episode.

In addition to some genuinely funny moments, the juxtaposition between superstition and science as played out in a courtroom setting is done well. Picard and the Enterprise use science to first determine the source of Ardra's powers, then use scientific replication to steal those powers and dispell Ardra's hold over the people.

Certainly some plot holes, but I don't know if the Feklah'r invention rises to one: it's entirely plausible that Klingon mythology has scisms regarding gods and devils, and I wouldn't hold one character's statement being inconsistent with another character's statement on such a matter up to the level of gross inconsistency.
Philippe13
43. koinekid
All these comments (not to mention krad's entire post), and no one mentions Clarke's third law? C'mon people. One of the guest stars even played a guy named "Clark." ;)
Philippe13
44. uv
WHAT!? This episode was great. 8 or 9 out of 10!
Philippe13
45. Jibbles
The only thing dumb about this episode is the review I just read. Most of the time, a review analyzes the plot, characters, continuity and other factors involved in the episode and presents a logical conclusion at the end. In this case, I read a review that described the episode carefully (and made it sound quite good), and then ended by trashing it completely with no justification. I've seen other 'TNG Rewatch' reviews that gave compelling reasons for an episode being awful and still rated it a five, where as this episode gets a two because it's 'dumb'? Somehow you totally missed the boat on this one.

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