The Third Generation Of The Worst Star Trek-TNG Episodes
Even As Captain Jean Luc Picard waves his arm and says, “Engage,” it’s time to unveil the next list of TNG episodes which embarrass the prime directive “To seek out new life, and go where no one has gone before” by presenting a dilithium array of stunted biogenic stories at the very moment the beloved Q appears in Captain Janeway’s inner sanctum, materializing in her bed as an offer of affection in the isolate Star Trek Voyager as it meanders through the Delta Quadrant lost on its maiden voyage searching for the right wormhole to return home.
Episode 111- Hide and Q, presented the second appearance of Q as the Omnipotent representative of The Q Continuum. Flamboyantly dressed as Napoleon with bluish lips and aristocratic blush, attempting to seduce Riker by giving him powers of Q and subjecting the crew to attack by fanged animal soldiers after a cold sip of pink lemonade on some alien planet. Worf, in unlikely Klingon fashion, points as the creatures march dressed as Bonaparte soldiers in Nineteenth Century European uniforms with bayonets and French hats, declares in horrified frenzy, “the monster things are coming.” This from the eldest son of Mogh, who would endure a Klingon pain stick in the Rights Of Ascension or hitting himself with one in a moment of solitary meditative flagellation to prove his worthiness as a warrior.
As the series evolved, the writing improved, season one displayed the worst episodes of its seven year run. Had Tasha Yarnot died in Skin of Evil (ep122) – a victim of Armus, a non-humanoid alien who resembled an oil slick of pure evil trapped on V(i)agra II, yet another victim of poor writing – she would have survived long enough to star in one of the best episodes of the series, Yesterday’s Enterprise (ep163). Instead, her alternate universe doppelganger got the part while learning from Guinan that the real Tasha suffered a death without meaning. A useless demise unworthy of a true warrior who survived the rape gangs of her home planet, Turkana IV, before escaping and entering star fleet academy where she was selected as Picard’s chief tactical officer when she saved a colonist by braving a minefield.
Episode 144 -Up The Long Ladder. A society that left Earth on the SS Mariposa, a DY-500 class cargo freighter, splintered into two distinct cultures. One evolved to cloning for reproduction, while the other reverted to a pre-industrial society with a tinge of Irish in their accent, farm animals and a lot of hay. Beamed aboard the Enterprise by Riker when the Enterprise-D receives an automated distress call from Bringloid V, the daughter of Odell, the leader of 200, tries to seduce Riker. When Brenna lets her hair down and kisses Riker, she notes his reservation and asks, “you do like girls , don’t you?” Putting aside the interesting idea of cloning in the 1988 second season episode, the plot’s confusing convoluted reproductive premise, abducting some of the crew’s DNA to diversify their genetic structure and the five minute finale where Picard decides to leave them on their own to discover their own DNA diversity. A wise decision for the man with a reputation of accomplished mediator who would soon become the arbiter of Succession for the Klingon empire when K’Mpec, leader of the High Council asks him to decide who will take his place, Duras or Gowron and discover which one poisoned him with Ridian 6, for which there is no cure, aided only by the council of the lovely Klingon ambassador K’Ehleyr, in Reunion (ep181). Up The Long Ladder should have been called, Down the Broken Staircase.
Episode 199 – In Theory. A treasured classic directed by Patrick Stewart who has a knack for directing the worst episodes such as, A Fistful Of Datas (ep234). Here the android pursues a relationship with Ensign Jenna D’Sora on the rebound from breaking up with her boyfriend who she claimed was a bit unemotional. In a wonderfully original line, she accuses Data of exhibiting artificial behavior even with a fully functional male anatomy. Finally realizing that perhaps there was a pattern to the focus of her affections, then rejecting Data for his synthetic nature. A bit transparent of her and the writing staff. Perhaps if Tasha Yar who took Data’s virginity in The Naked Now (ep103), before dying a senseless death, could have been there to convince Ensign D’Sora that Data’s fully functional anatomy could have been a more fulfilling experience than even Commander Riker as he continually subjected the crew and guests on Red Alert to run for cover as the Enterprise D engaged Warp Drive through the galaxy.
This completes the Third Generation list of the worst ST-TNG episodes. A Fourth Generation list is being compiled at this very moment and will be released at a later date. Please feel free to comment on my ongoing saga to identify the worst of the Enterprise 1701-D.