Second Generation List of The Worst Star Trek – The Next Generation episodes

In a previous essay, the worst episodes of Star Trek – The Next Generation, three of the most forgettable episodes were first identified. They should have been “lost in space” when transported from the cutting room floor onto the television screen. Perhaps a shredder would have been more appropriate.

It’s now time to add to the illustrious list, possibly locked in Dennie Crane’s desk on Boston Legal along with the illegal Cuban cigars and a bottle of Viagra, to await trial for crimes against science-fiction. Without further ado, the moment has come to unveil the next installment, as the robot from Lost In Space, moving rapidly over some alien terrain, arms flailing, yells the immortal words: “Danger Will Robinson.”

Episode 109 -Justice. On Stardate 41255.6, revealing karma comes to the landing party while beaming down to the planet Rubicun III, populated by the Edo, “free-spirited people who greet friends with a deep embrace and offer themselves sexually to anyone.” Hmm, at what price? The inhabitants run from one place to another, instead of walking, arousing images of brisk jack rabbits, hopping around, “coming and withdrawing” too rapidly for the likes of the crew, especially Commander Riker.

Let’s not forget “The forbidden zones”, which change daily, the gardens of emergent flowers, that Wesley encounters, accidentally falling through the transparent boundaries while “playing with some of the younger Edo.” He is condemned to death. Perhaps if Wesley stuck to playing with himself, he wouldn’t have been given a death sentence. How this episode got through television Sensors probably explain the origin of the words “Red Alert, The Censor array is offline.”

Here is some of the treasured dialog quoted closely from the authentic script with commentary in parenthesis:

“And I welcome this huge one.” She gives him, a long sensual hug.

WORF (the ultimate minimalist of both the Enterprise and Deep Space Nine)
“Nice planet.” (Grrrrrrrrrr)

EDO GIRL (scantly dressed in an outfit inspired by the G-String)
“I want to do something too, with you” (eyes pointing toward Wesley, an underage minor at the time of taping)

“Uh . . .what?, well actually, there are some games I don’t quite know yet.” (in a flustered, refreshingly virgin response).

Episode 187 – Devil’s Due
. An episode obviously mis-titled that should have been called “Devils Doo.” The synopsis deserves to be quoted from the star trek website, “The U.S.S. Enterprise receives an emergency transmission from a science station on the planet Ventax II whose inhabitants are in panic, convinced a mythic figure called Ardra (*1) has returned to fulfill a thousand-year-old contract. According to legend, she promised the citizens of the once war-torn planet a thousand years of peace and prosperity in exchange for their enslavement at the end of that time. Picard goes to the planet to help the Ventaxian leader, when Ardra suddenly appears before them, revealing the contract she has come to collect and ‘expresses an immediate attraction to Picard.’”

Obviously not a good match for the “cool cucumber”, Captain Jean Luc Picard, accomplished mediator, hand picked by K’mpec, leader of the Klingon High Council, to act in his name, after he is dead, to arbitrate the struggle for power between the two potential successors, Duras and Gowron, as well as discover which one poisoned him slowly with Ridian 6, for which there is no cure. Assisted only by Worf’s mate, the lovely Klingon/Human hybrid Ambassador K’Ehleyr as his advisor of Klingon tradition (Reunion, ep181).

In contrast, Picard’s grasp of an unconscious Guinan in Times Arrow II, the cave scene when she comes to, with his right hand spreading over a large area as he grins, describing their future relationship, “Oh, far beyond friendship” while secretly thinking, “Whoopi”. Guinan is a more appropriate match for Picard than Ardra, a testament to his skilled leadership as he roams the galaxy with his hand on the throttle.

As ludicrous as this episode is, an ethical echo of its theme suggests the immorality of a generation selling their descendants future by contracting with the devil for the sake of their own “inconvenient truth“. Could this be the answer to solve global warming? Perhaps President George W. Bush has made his own contract with Ardra.

Episode 148 – Shades Of Gray, would have been better served by the title, “Drill Me Please, Dr. Pulaski”, a reference to those metal rods used to penetrate Riker’s skull after he lay unconscious, following an attack on his thigh by some tentacled creature who embedded a thorn when he and Data are on a routine geological survey mission of Surata IV. Doctor Pulaski determines that “the thorn contains an unknown organism which is rapidly spreading throughout Riker’s body. If left unchecked, the microbe will soon reach his brain and kill him. Ironically, Pulaski has no way of decimating the organism without destroying the nerves of the being it’s inhabiting.”

Putting aside the fact that Number One is invested with “A nerve of steel”, looking for all the female crew members and guests serving on the Enterprise 1701-D who are not on Red Alert. Perhaps Dr. Pulaski would have been more quickly successful if she used a spade instead of lobotomizing Riker as he lay unconscious. The sum of this story comprise a patchwork of flashbacks from previous episodes highlighting the stimulation of his negative emotions, against a backdrop of a Counselor Troi, one of his past and present conquests of the steel nerve as she emotes her moist Betazoid tears while looking at Dr. Pulaski, “He isn’t going to die, is he?”. One can only imagine Dr. McCoy saying, “He isn’t dead yet Jim.” Perhaps Mr. Spock’s Vulcan mind probe would have been more appealing than seeing Riker penetrated by multiple steel rods. Dennie Crane should argue this one as justifiable negligence based on this episode being the last one of the second season and the writing staff were exhausted playing with their themes.

The list continues to grow as a number of other “klinkers” will be submitted for your consideration, presented in a forthcoming third generation list of the worst Star Trek – The Next Generation episodes, that will be posted at a later date. Please feel free to comment on any of the episodes that I have listed or suggest some of your own.

*1 Ardra spelled backwards is Ardra. How clever of the devil doo script writers

The Third Generation Worst Star Trek – TNG Episodes

The Worst Start Trek – TNG Episodes