Written by Patrick Barry
Directed by Michael Rhodes
Season 1, Episode 13
Production episode 40271-115
Original air date: January 25, 1988
Captain’s Log: The freighter Odin—missing for seven years—has been found destroyed, but while investigating, the Enterprise discovers that three escape pods were launched. They track them to Angel One.
Initial diplomatic contact with the women who run the planet is tense, as they don’t trust the Enterprise crew, but they eventually reveal that four survivors did land seven years earlier. They are also fugitives, and the Elected One, Mistress Beata, agrees to cooperate with the away team only if they promise to take them away.
Data learns that the planet has no platinum, so a search for that metal reveals the survivors’ location. Riker stays with Beata while Yar, Data, and Troi find Ramsey, the leader of the Odin survivors. He does not wish to leave—the four of them have settled on Angel One and made lives here. They don’t like the way men are treated, but they don’t wish to leave, either. Beata, therefore, condemns them to death.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise has problems of its own. The ship has been requested to travel to the Neutral Zone after their mission is done, as there has been Romulan activity. Unfortunately, a virus has spread throughout the ship, which incapacitates the entire crew, one by one.
Beata finds Ramsey and his bunch by following Mistress Ariel, another of the ruling council, who has secretly married Ramsey. Riker’s plan to take Ramsey and his people to the Enterprise is curtailed by Crusher declaring a quarantine, so Beata condemns them all to death.
Riker pleads before they are put to death—not for mercy, but for common sense, pointing out that in death, Ramsey becomes a martyr. Beata considers, and changes the sentence to exile.
Crusher finds an innoculant, and the crew is cured, in time to head to the Neutral Zone.
Thank You, Counselor Obvious: “There was much fear in that room.” “Paranoia, I’d say, but of what?” “I cannot say.” So Riker consults the counselor who doesn’t tell him anything he doesn’t already know from reading body language. Why have the empath again?
What Happens on the Holodeck Stays on the Holodeck: A snowball from the holodeck seems to cause the virus, which is a neat trick, especially since “The Big Goodbye” made it clear that any holodeck matter—like the snow—would disappear after leaving the holodeck. This leaves the question of how it was able to stain Picard’s uniform .
No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: Riker dresses like one of the locals, which involves tight pants and a shirt that reveals most of his chest hair. Dress like a rent boy, get treated like a rent boy—Mistress Beata immediately takes him to bed. I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain that that’s an ethics violation .
If I Only Had a Brain : As the only person immune to the virus, Data winds up in charge of the Enterprise all by himself.
The boy!? This time, Wes is the one who endangers the ship, as the virus seems to start with him and his friend, and move onto Picard and Worf, who were hit by his snowball.
There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf and Picard are among the first to get the virus, which leads to some entertaining sneezes from the Klingon. He also gives La Forge command advice, which makes you wonder why La Forge was put in charge when “Lonely Among Us” established Worf as fourth in command.
Welcome Aboard: Karen Montgomery and Patricia McPherson are particularly uninspired as Beata and Ariel, and that’s as nothing to how spectacularly boring Sam Hennings is as Ramsey .
I Believe I Said That. “I’m sorry, I’m getting sick.”
“I’m sure half the ship knows that by now.”
Worf apologizing for a sneeze that shook the ship, and La Forge commenting on it.
Trivial Matters: This is the first time the Romulans are mentioned on TNG, though they are not seen, and the end result of the movements in the Neutral Zone are never revealed.
Make it So: This episode manages the remarkable feat of being one of the most sexist episodes of Star Trek ever produced under the veneer of feminism.
It starts with Picard’s moronic suggestion that Troi make first contact because it’s a female dominated society. Right. By that loopy logic, La Forge should’ve made the first contact in “Code of Honor.” It’s followed by Picard describing their culture as an “unusual” matriarchal society—this right after Troi described it as reminding her of Betazed.
It doesn’t get any better. The women of Angel One fall right into bed with the first “real men” they meet—Ariel with Ramsey, Beata with Riker—and the society is portrayed with embarrassing simplicity. The virus subplot is filler, and boring filler at that. (Well, except for Worf sneezing .)
One of the absolute low points of the show.
Warp factor rating: 2.
Keith R.A. DeCandido has a new novel out: the Dungeons & Dragons tome Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun. You should buy it. Really. You can follow Keith online at his blog or on Facebook or Twitter under the username KRADeC.