Jul 24 2012 4:05pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Conundrum”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum“Conundrum”
Written by Paul Schiffer and Barry Schkolnick
Directed by Les Landau
Season 5, Episode 14
Production episode 40275-214
Original air date: February 17, 1992
Stardate: 45494.2

Captain’s Log: The ship pootles along through space, tracking subspace signals that may indicate life in the Epsilon Sola system. In Ten-Forward, Troi beats Data at three-dimensional chess, which means he has to make her a Samarian Sunset, as only he can. In sickbay, Crusher treats a young woman named Kristin, who damaged some ligaments while swimming and diving, while Riker yells at Ro for altering procedure on how to handle flight handling assessments. Ro’s procedure is better, but she didn’t check with Riker first.

Riker and Ro arrive on the bridge just as Worf picks up a subspace signal from an unfamiliar ship, with only one life-form aboard. They don’t respond to hails, but they do scan rather intently—the scan penetrates the ship’s shields, damaging the computer and helm, and then moving through the ship. Suddenly, nobody remembers who they are or who anybody else is.

And there’s an additional person on the bridge who wasn’t there before the scanning wave hit.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

They all stumble around trying to figure out who they are. They know they’re on a starship. Ro figures she’s the pilot, and she knows how to operate her console—which is currently dead. Riker and Worf know how to use the tactical console, as well.

La Forge manages to pick up intermittent sensor readings of debris in front of them. Worf postulates that they might have been in battle. They’re also not sure who’s supposed to be in command—Riker thinks it’s Picard based on the number of pips on his collar, but Worf points out that he is decorated (his baldric), and that may be an indicator of higher rank.

The new person on the bridge suggests that the other ship hit them with some kind of bioelectric field that wiped their memories, with Ro adding that maybe then they attacked and destroyed them. But there may have been other damage—Picard tries to get a report from the computer, but the voice interface is down. La Forge finds that the computer’s completely down—but he is able to get to a system directory. Life support is operational, but propulsion, navigation, and communications are all offline. Internal communication is working, though.

Worf takes the initiative to do a shipwide announcement: everyone should pick a representative from the group they’re in to report their status to the bridge. We then cut to sickbay, to Crusher and Kristin, who are just as amnesiac as the folks on the bridge.

Eventually, everyone reports in. The new guy reports to Worf, who has assumed command, saying that there are a thousand people on board, and nobody remembers who they are. Worf theorizes that the Enterprise must be a battleship, based on the armament and shield grid they’re carrying.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

Riker, Ro, and La Forge decide to go check the rest of the ship on foot. They go to engineering first. Everything’s working, but the control systems are down. La Forge then goes after the computer core, trying to get things back online (and maybe find some personnel records so they can find out what their names are), while Riker and Ro do a personnel check.

Picard and the new guy report to Worf, now in the ready room, that no one’s hurt, but that transporters are working and shuttles are all on board. Worf’s priority is to get tactical systems online, which La Forge accomplishes, then Picard and the new guy suggest a full diagnostic. Worf is reluctant, because that would force them to take systems offline, but the computer was damaged, and they need to be sure everything’s really working properly.

Crusher comes to the bridge. She’s done several brainscans and found no damage, not even to the hippocampus. This suggests that they have their long-term memories, they’ve just been blocked somehow. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have access to the crew’s medical records, so she doesn’t have normal brainscans to compare to.

Riker and Ro continue their survey of the crew, and also flirt rather outrageously. They arrive at Ten-Forward. Troi speaks for that group, and she says she’s noticed two things: the bartender is an artificial life form (Data was behind the bar when the scanning wave hit, so that’s a natural assumption), and Troi herself has the ability to sense what other people are feeling. She gets a strong sense of recognition from Riker.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

Worf then contacts Riker and Ro, saying that they’ve gotten access to personnel files and to report to the bridge. As they arrive, La Forge calls up the crew manifest. It reveals that Picard is the commanding officer, with the new guy as the executive officer, identified as Commander Keiran MacDuff. Riker is listed as second officer, with Data as operations officer, Crusher as chief medical officer, Troi as ship’s counselor, La Forge as chief engineer, Worf as chief of security, and Ro as helm officer. Worf is abject in his apologies to Picard, who gladly forgives and forgets.

Data and La Forge find out that the ship is called the U.S.S. Enterprise, it’s part of the United Federation of Planets (true), and the Federation is at war with the Lysian Alliance, a genocidal race out to destroy the Federation (not so much). The war has gone poorly of late due to a new Lysian weapon that has enabled them to capture fourteen Starfleet ships with the greatest of ease. The theory is that the weapon disrupts systems and mental functions—just like what happened to them.

According to what La Forge has dug up, the Enterprise’s mission is to go behind enemy lines and destroy Lysian central command. They are to maintain radio silence, and they’re the linchpin of the entire plan. Picard orders MacDuff to take them to the Lysian system.

Riker escorts Troi to her quarters. To her frustration, nothing seems right or familiar—except for Riker. Then Riker heads to his own quarters, seeing both a trombone and a horga’hn—and Ro, who’s already changed into civvies and is waiting on his couch, reading a book. They fall into bed in about five seconds.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

The next day, they come into Lysian territory. They encounter a Lysian destroyer. MacDuff takes it upon himself to arm weapons without orders, and when the Lysians hail the Enterprise, it’s MacDuff who urges them not to reply, his reasoning being that that may be how they transmit their disruptive weapon. The destroyer itself is no match for the Enterprise in terms of standard tactics. When the Enterprise does not respond to hails, the Lysians arm weapons and fire—and are destroyed easily.

Troi visits with Riker, who has been learning about himself, including his musical ability—he plays a trombone bit for Troi who is impressed, and Riker emphatically declares that no one was more surprised than him. He also finds a volume of Keats that Troi gave him as a present, inscribed “all my love,” and they almost kiss before Ro shows up and they have an awkward moment before Troi leaves. Ro is glad Riker insists that nothing was going on, because she figures herself to have been the jealous type.

Crusher has come up with a possible cure for the amnesia, but it requires the crew’s medical records, which have been irreparably damaged. La Forge is suspicious of how selective the damage to the ship has been—just as selective as the damage to their memories. Crusher doesn’t want to try her cure without medical records, but they have to give it a shot. MacDuff “nobly” volunteers, then fakes a seizure during the procedure, which forces Crusher back to square one.

Picard calls MacDuff into his ready room. Everything feels wrong to him. They greatly outclassed the one enemy ship they’ve met, and every shred of information that might shed some light on their mission has been conveniently eliminated. He needs some kind of moral context to justify his actions, and he doesn’t have it. MacDuff agrees that he’d rather have answers, but there’s so much else riding on this, can he justify breaking off the mission?

MacDuff then calls Worf to his quarters, giving him a pep talk about how they’re the two warriors on the ship. MacDuff wants to know that he can count on Worf not to hesitate during a crucial moment, or the mission will be lost.

They enter the Lysian system, and are met with negligible resistance. Lysian central command has no defenses beyond what the Enterprise has already destroyed. Data’s tactical analysis is that one photon torpedo would wipe out the entire central command. MacDuff insists that they need to complete their mission, but Picard, Riker, and Troi all think this is wrong. The Lysian technology is a hundred years behind that of the Federation—a war between the two wouldn’t last a day.

Picard’s final word is that he will not fire on defenseless people, and orders Worf to open a channel. MacDuff belays that order and takes command, ordering Worf to fire. When Worf refuses, MacDuff knocks Worf down and tries to fire the weapons himself. Riker and Worf stop him with phasers, and when they fire on him, they penetrate his disguise, eventually stunning him.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

The Lysians identify “MacDuff” as a Satarran in disguise. The Lysians and Satarrans have been at war for decades. The Satarrans were trying to use Starfleet’s more advanced weapons to bring the war to an end. Crusher manages to restore memories now that MacDuff isn’t sabotaging her efforts, and the Enterprise heads to Starbase 301.

Riker then enters Ten-Forward to see Ro and Troi having a very animated conversation. They both torture him for a bit, with Troi assuring him that he can talk to her about it—in her office—before she walks off, leaving a rather flabbergasted Riker behind.

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: The Satarrans have the technology to block certain memories—all the ones relating to a person’s identity—without losing the person’s skill set. They also are very good with Federation computer systems. Of course, one wonders why they didn’t just use that as a weapon on the Lysians...

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi is the first to be ambivalent about their mission, as she feels they should get some kind of confirmation before flying behind enemy lines to destroy something. She also takes great pleasure in tormenting Riker at the end.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: In March 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot, and Secretary of State Al Haig famously declared himself in charge, since Vice President George H.W. Bush was on a plane. I always think of that when I watch Worf in this episode. It’s really amusing to see how quickly and easily and skillfully Worf takes to being in command.

If I Only Had a Brain…: Data gets beaten by Troi at chess, is mistaken for a bartender, and is the one able to access the personnel records (only to find them wiped). He also comes up with several hypotheses regarding why he’s the only one on the ship.

In the Driver’s Seat: Ro’s back, her first appearance since “Disaster,” and she’s the first one to figure out what it is she’s supposed to be doing on the ship, to wit, flying it.

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Riker and Ro are all over each other, and Riker and Troi realize that they have a romantic past. The every-man’s-nightmare ending as Riker watches Ro and Troi compare notes is one of the single funniest scenes in Trek history.

I Believe I Said That: “Contact the operations officer to assist you.”

“He’s in Ten-Forward—waiting tables.”

Picard telling La Forge to find Data, and Ro amusedly telling them where to find him.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

Welcome Aboard: Erich Anderson does well as MacDuff, and he’s the only major guest, as this was a bottle show, intended to keep costs down by using minimal guest stars and existing sets.

However, we do get another Robert Knepper moment! Liz Vassey—probably best known as Wendy Simms on CSI, who also played Captain Liberty on the short-lived live-action version of The Tick, and who is currently recurring on Necessary Roughness—had a small role in this episode as Kristin, one of Crusher’s patients.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

Trivial Matters: Information from the personnel files in this episode includes some things we already knew (e.g., Picard’s birthplace of LaBarre, France, established in “Family”), lots of new information (e.g., Crusher’s birth name of Howard, which will be referenced again in “Sub Rosa”), false information (e.g., Troi’s father’s name, established in “The Child” as Ian, is listed as “Alex” in the file), and information that would later be contradicted (e.g., Ro’s home planet is listed as “Bajora,” rather than Bajor).

The Satarrans return to plague the Enterprise in Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore’s duology A Time to Sow and A Time to Harvest.

The episode is told from Kristin’s perspective in the short story “Kristin’s Conundrum” by Jeff D. Jacques & Michelle A. Bottrall in Strange New Worlds V.

Picard tells MacDuff that he feels as if he’s been handed a weapon, sent into a room, and been told to kill a stranger, something of a reference to The Manchurian Candidate, which was also the basis of the plot of the episode “The Mind’s Eye.”

Joe Menosky actually wrote most of the teleplay, but chose not to be credited for it, allowing Schkolnick to get full credit (and full payment for writing same).

Riker still has a horga’hn from Risa, though it’s unclear whether it was the one Picard got in “Captain’s Holiday,” or from one of Riker’s own trips there (“The Game,” e.g.). He also plays “The Nearness of You” by Hoagy Carmichael on the trombone for Troi—he played the same song with the holographic jazz band in “11001001.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Conundrum

This episode jointly won the Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects with “A Matter of Time.”

Make it So: “You and I have shared something that we will treasure forever.” This episode doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the face of it, as the Satarran ability to manipulate the Enterprise is a little too perfect, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a means to an end, to wit, giving the crew a) amnesia and b) a terrible conundrum (hence the title).

In fact, the episode could’ve afforded to do more with a). It might’ve been fun to go through the whole episode with Worf thinking he’s in command, with Data as the bartender, and so on. As it is, what we did see was wonderful, in particular the rather bizarre Riker-Ro-Troi triangle that developed.

Ultimately, a fun little episode.


Warp factor rating: 6

Keith R.A. DeCandido wants to know why there ain’t no sun up in the sky.

1. Tesh
I almost felt bad for Riker.

j p
2. sps49
I don't know why MacDuff didn't give himself an extra pip and take charge.

Yay, pre-Captain Liberty! I love The Tick.
Alyssa Tuma
3. AlyssaT
Thought it was odd when Ro and Riker were musing along the lines of "We might be married," "We might hate each other," no one thought to bring up "We might be SIBLINGS" (not physically likely, but who would place the Rozhenkos as Worf's parents not knowing any better?) or "You might be my best friend's wife..." or any other not-entirely-out-of-the-realm-of-possibility scenario that would make jumping into bed a BIG mistake. Still, agreed, a fun episode with lots of nice moments.
Keith DeCandido
4. krad
sps49: It's easier to insert a second commander than a second captain.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
5. Mike Kelm
I'm going to start out by saying I do like this episode. Then I'm going to nitpick it for a while :P Overall though, it's something we haven't seen before on the show (it's a little similar to other episodes like Allegiance, but not quite) and it has a great premise behind it. What would you do if you didn't know who you were?

I'm with SPS49 @ 2 and our noble recapper- it would have been better if either Worf or MacDuff was in command- it makes Picard as the voice of doubt more powerful since he isn't in a position to determine the course of events. If one of the "warriors" was in command then the explorer/peacenik guy as the counterpoint makes much more sense.

I also agree with you KRAD that if the Satarrans are that good at computer hacking (and apparently instantaneous computer hacking) why not just go to the Lysian central command, and hack the reactor so it blows up? Why go to this really complicated end to do it? And if you're going to disguise yourself amongst the crew, why not choose a more warrior race (like say a Klingon ship) to use as your merry band of marauders. I'd think there would be far fewer doubts about blowing stuff up by the Klingons then by the Federation.

Two more minor nits- once again I am baffled by the Enterprise's computer security, as apparently not only are they hacked (again), but there appears to be no sort of protected backup in case files get damaged. Two, adding MacDuff to the crew actually makes sense, as I've often said there should be far more Lt. Commanders/Commanders on board- at least one for each shift. This way you could actually have Captain/First Officer as your alpha shift, Second Officer as your beta shift, and Third Officer/Operations Officer as your gamma shift commanders.

Lastly, KRAD I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't immediately recognize the Edo god, which has apparently moved on to better things as the Lysian command now that Wesley isn't around to execute.
6. StrongDreams
if the Satarrans are that good at computer hacking...why not just go to the Lysian central command, and hack the reactor so it blows up?

Because the Lysians' computer technology is just as advanced.

I think military technologies of warring groups probably evolves in parallel, the way that in nature, predators and prey, or pollinators and flowers, evolve in parallel. Imagine if Earth's WWII and further conflicts had all been fought with chemical weapons like WWI -- we'd have extremely advanced systems for detecting, dispersing and neutralizing chemical warfare agents, but maybe much less advanced technology in other areas (for example, because of the wide-area nature of chemical weapons, there would be little point in GPS-guided bombs or indeed in a GPS system at all). Instead, we have a dozen kinds of precision-guided conventional weapons but a hundred years later still lack a (reliable) battlefield-ready system to detect chemical attacks.

So I assume the Lysians and the Starrans have great computer tech but maybe they never discovered the physics principles behind shields and warp drive.
Jane Smyth
7. Kaboom
This was one of the first episodes of TNG that I saw. Since I was not familiar with the characters at all, it was also like a mystery. I could not be sure that MacDuff was really an alien. Probably made it even more interesting to watch. Liked the Samarian Sunset (or something like that) drink that Data did for Troi.
Jay Hash
Ah yes, the Satarrans: freaky bastards, all around. And man, when they made their reappearance in the "A Time To..." series it was an awesome moment. I remember reading and thinking, "Why does these guys seem so familiar?!" only to have the bomb dropped in the last chapter and making me wig out whilst waiting for the next one.

Though I do agree with the fact that having the Lysians being severly underpowered vs. the Enterprise was a bit ridiculous, and should have engendered a more thorough investigation directly with Starfleet instead of taking what MacDuff said and running with it. I always felt like saying, "You people can't remember who you are, what makes you honestly think it's still a good idea to continue with your covert mission. Maybe you forget some very specific piece of information that you were supposed to adhere to?" I know that if they do, the story falls apart, but any crew that suffered that big of a setback should know that procedure should be paramount, and that maybe after acquiring the handicap of the lost memory, it might be best to sit that mission out, at least until EVERYTHING is back online and in working order.

Though I agree, it is a fun episode that turns a couple things on its ear, regardless if it is a bit extreme that the bad guys were able to do such amazing things as figure out how Data's memory works internally and suppress his memories... even when Geordi and the SCE don't really know exactly how he functions all that well...
Rob Rater
9. Quasarmodo
They might've wondered why, if they were in a war with a race that could wipe their memories, someone didn't write down the mission so if they did get their memories wiped, they could still know what they were supposed to be doing. At least as a backup to the computer in case it was damaged, or they were unable to access the computer after their memory was wiped.
10. MvComedy
I always figured (not that there is any on-screen evidence of this) that perhaps the Lysians and their technology were immune to the Satarran mind-wipe. If they've been at war for decades, it's quite possible that the Lysians figured out a way to counter the technology when it was in an early stage, since negating their enemy's advantage would be a major goal in wartime. Instead, I was always puzzled that the Satarrans have been able to devise a way to selectively wipe various alien memories, an android's memory, and an advanced alien computer's files, all in one shot, yet never developed conventional weapon technology remotely close to that of the Federation despite decades of conflict. Granted we know next to nothing about the Satarrans and there could be any number of reasons for why that may be, but a little more exposition in that regard would have gone a long way to clear up some things.

That out of the way, I have always enjoyed this episode. The idea of waking up and not knowing anything about who you are is thought-provoking enough, but all the more so is the idea of what might happen if everyone around you did likewise.
11. Christopher L. Bennett
I agree about the overly contrived premise, but the execution is pretty good. And the glimpse we got of the very creepy Satarran makeup under the disguise was one of Michael Westmore's most impressive creations.

Other than that, the best thing in the episode is a tossup between Worf instinctively assuming command and Liz Vassey spending the whole episode in a bathing suit.

The story "Kristin's Conundrum" by Jeff D. Jacques and Michelle A. Bottrall, in Strange New Worlds V, retells this story from the perspective of Vassey's character.
Michael Burstein
12. mabfan
As you say, Keith, a fun episode.

But I have a nit to pick with your categorization of Al Haig. Then again, it's not just you.

Years later, Haig claimed that he wasn't trying to take over the country, but was trying to reassure people. He claimed that he said, "I'm in control *here*," with the emphasis on the "here," to reasssure people that someone was in control. Here's what he said to the press in the chaotic aftermath of the assassination attempt:

“Constitutionally gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. As for now, I’m in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.”

I can't believe I'm defending Al Haig, but years later, I did watch the footage, and I agree with the claim he made that he was not trying to wrest control of the government.

-- Michael A. Burstein
Keith DeCandido
13. krad
Christopher: oh, right! Thanks for the reminder of Jeff & Michelle's story!

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
14. Tesh
Seems to me that a slight tweak of the scenario would make more sense than "the Feds are so powerful we had to manipulate them for their weapons tech". Why not make it a political maneuver? For that matter, weave the Romulans in or something. Make the Federation look bad in a move as part of a larger game to undermine and conquer them.

I know, I know, they didn't do larger story arcs like that. It's just... making it a political manipulation makes more sense to me than the weird supercomputertech/wimpy weapontech explanation that we got.
15. Antony Wong
One of my favourite TNG episodes.
16. Rich F
I personally thought the episode should have been titled "Lay Off, MacDuff". But then that would have been a spoiler.

As for the Secretary of State's taking over in an emergency, isn't the Speaker of the House supposed to be constitutionally third after the President and Vice President?
17. Mike Kelm
@Rich F

LOL at Lay Off Macduff

And Yes, per the 25th Amendment, the line of succession is President, VP, Speaker, President Pro Temp of the Senate, then running through the cabinet secretaries in the order of origin of office, so SecState, SecTreas, SecDef, Attorney General and downwards to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, as that is the most recent Cabinet Secretary position.

In the case of the Reagan Assassination though, it was a bit muddled- the President was not dead, so section 1 of the 25th Amendment was not invoked, nor did he remove himself from office, so section 3 of the 25th Amendment was not invoked. Section 4, which is the Cabinet/VP declaring the president incapable of holding office wasn't invoked b/c they couldn't get together to meet since VP Bush wasn't there. (there actually were some concerns in 1987 about President Reagan's fitness but the Cabinet didn't meet to discuss them in any sort of formal way) So since the 25th Amendment couldn't be used, there was some confusion. Haig himself was incorrect, forgetting the speaker and president pro temp in line of succession. However, as VP Bush didn't have secure communications at that moment, Al Haig was de facto in control at the White House as the most senior individual present. VP Bush arrived at the White House and for all practical purposes assumed the presidency but legally he never became the Acting President.

Since that time, there has been more of a priority in ensuring a Presidential successor is available with secure communications- if you watch the Presidential State of the Union for example, you'd see that at least one cabinet secretary is not present (usually one of the less visible ones like the Secretary of Agriculture or Housing and Urban Development). At President Obama's inauguration, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was at a "secure location" in case of emergency- also since he already was the Secretary of Defense under Bush, he was most ramped up and capable to act as Designated Survivor.

In reality though, if there was a wide scale death in the line of succession, the whole damn thing would be a constitutional nightmare.
18. Sparkforce
Additional fun fact: the Lysian Central Command station was the same model of space station that the 'gods' of the Edo had in season one's "Justice."
19. folkbum
I totally did not recognize Liz Vassey, as this was pre-nose job. Yikes.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
20. Lisamarie
I actually really liked this one, although I did have a few nits to pick. For instance, if this species is so powerful, why didn't they must make it so the computer said he was the captain and Picard was some other low ranked officer?

Also, it kind of bugs me when you introduce a technology that is SO insanely powerful (can selectively wipe memories of ALL species on the ship, can very selectively alter computer records as well as insert their own modified records, as well as modifying Data's android brain - and what if somebody kept a paper journal ;))....and then you never hear about it again.
21. StrongDreams
Blame the prime directive! If I was in charge of the Federation, the first thing I would do (after apologizing to the Lysians, of course) is to offer to trade them phasers and shields for computer and brain technology.
22. Cradok
@folkbum So that's why I can never quite equate 'this' Liz Vassey to when she's in CSI, that had always bugged me.
23. Etherbeard
@folkbum: Yikes? What does that even mean? I don't see anything even remotely wrong with her nose here--certainly nothing to warrant surgery.

A bit more confusion of roles in this episode could have made it really good. The fun of this sort of premise is seeing everyone outside their usual element. We got glimpses of this with Worf taking command and Data tending bar, but status quo-ish was reestablished too quickly. The rest of the episode only works at all because of the Riker-Ro-Troi dynamic. The military plot simply had no real danger for the Enterprise crew. Unfortunately, the episode is neither as fun nor dramatic as it could easily have been.
Brickhouse MacLarge
24. Midnightair
This was a fun episode, which I felt the actors acted out of character well. A good premise. The only gripe is, I would have had Ro Laren hook up with Picard or another officer. Watching "Horny Riker" is tiresome, and watching him have unwarranted success with the ladies TWICE in one episode is enough to make my blood curdle into bitter whey.
Having Ro hook up with Picard would have been a better continuity move, seeing as Cpt. Picard did play his role in "Ensign Ro" as slightly attracted to her at the end, and vice-versa. Picard is a much more interesting man than Mr. Number 1.
25. jelsilk
There is no way in the world that Troi would be able to beat Data at chess.
Alan Smith
26. Alansmith
I agree with @jelsilk , i dont believe that Troi would be able to beat Data at chess :)
However this was very fun episode !

Everything you should read ABOUT your favourite movie
27. David Sim
Why is Data the one doing a tactical analysis on the Lysian ships and Central Command? Shouldn't Worf be doing that? Or are the crew still confused about what each is supposed to do?
28. maxolasersquad
While there where some holes and missed opportunities, I really enjoyed this episode. I usually tire of Riker's need to bed everything possible, but mixing him up with Ro was great fun since it makes all future tensions between the two automatically awkward. It also created a fun ending scene.
For once Trio's character has actual purpose and adds to the fun. It would have been nice if some nobody was on the bridge and assumed to be part of the commanding crew. Perhaps Lieutenant Barclay.
Edward Chinevere
29. Drawde
I feel it must be said- at this point, Marina Sirtis's Troi is becoming much stronger. From the fantastic counseling in "Hero Worship," to the extremely likable delivery of "It's psychologically valid" at the end of this episode, not to mention the wondefully haunted recollections as she emerges from her coma with a much-understated smoky eye and tousled hair in "Violations," she's becoming much more interesting, and demonstrating acting chops she really hadn't before. Next, we get to see her as villainess...
30. Liam Pisan
To be honest, I am not sure I understand the general acclaim for this episode (it is in the top twenty or thirty episodes on both IMDB and TV.com); I just cannot logically accept the episode's plot, where for whatever reason MacDuff does not simply make himself the captain. Too reminiscent of the early seasons where the entire excuse for or resolution of the episode was patently absurd and relied more on improper character actions than any true conceptual legitimacy.
31. APNelson

Data is the operations officer (which seems to also be the science officer in 24th century Trek). I imagine his console has easy access to more sensor readouts than the Tactical station since Tactical also has all the controls for communications and weapons. Plus, since he's an android, he's able to process the incoming data and cross reference it with computer records more quickly.

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