- The Original Series (TOS)
- The Animated Series
- The Movies
- The Next Generation (TNG)
- Deep Space Nine (DS9)
- Voyager
- Enterprise

- TNG Season One
- TNG Season Two
- TNG Season Three
- TNG Season Four
- TNG Season Five
- TNG Season Six
- TNG Season Seven

Season Three:
-150: "Evolution"
-152: "Who Watches the Watchers?"
-157: "The Vengeance Factor"
-159: "The Hunted"
-160: "The High Ground"
-163: "Yesterday's Enterprise"
-167: "Captain's Holiday"
-173: "Transfigurations"
-174-175: "The Best of Both Worlds"

-Season 3 Rankings

- Doctor Who
- Sliders
- The Matrix

- Main Index
- Site Map


(Star Trek - The Next Generation episode production code 173)
  • written by René Echevarria
  • directed by editor Tom Benko
  • music by Dennis McCarthy
  • 45 minutes


This seems to be an overlooked episode sitting at the end of TNG's third season. I admit I'd forgotten half of its qualities despite having seen it several times before. And I'm still not sure how I feel about it, since two of the strongest of those qualities each pull in opposite directions...

Writer René Echevarria had already succeeded with a very heartwarming tale earlier in the season with "The Offspring", and the script for "Transfigurations" looks like it had the design and potential to do some equally heartwarming relational moments between Dr. Crusher and this week's mysterious guest star. But in this case, nothing truly captivating actually materializes; the actors and director never really find a way of getting there. We go through many of the correct motions, but most of the sentiment comes across as being far too `wet'. The guest star never inspires with charisma, and Dr. Crusher takes some teasing from Wesley at dinner about a special something that we never really see on screen at any point.

Meanwhile, something that isn't really recognizable until nearly the end of the episode is the grand archetypal nature of the guest character's story arc. He actually has a bit of a hero's journey to pioneer and demonstrate an evolutionary transformation for his entire planetary society. We're very nearly watching a transformation from third density to something resembling a fourth density mindset with a fifth density physicality. This is excellent ground for Star Trek to cover, advertising what's at the heart of worthy New Age movements with excellent supporting characters and effects. It's the very kind of thing that TNG was getting right so much more so than any other incarnation of Star Trek. This concluding segment is a very very powerful strength for the episode, and makes great viewing again and again.

Of course, Geordi has a little subplot in this one. It starts off a bit painfully awkward, before becoming pleasant... but never really manages to become compelling. Worf's few asides manage to be the most entertaining parts of this plotline.

I will draw out one of the specifics of the mystery, which could have gone another way. Our guest star often says that he has no memory of who he is, where he came from, or what is happening to him. Well, that kind of leaves the audience with nothing that can create anticipation of where this story is headed, or anticipation of how excellently it will be resolved. I think it also instinctively leaves us much less able to trust this week's guest, much less leaving us willing to make an emotional investment in him. Probably not the smartest way to go here. It contributed to too much of the wetness. It might have been wiser for our John Doe to be able to articulate more, over the course of most of the show, and give us a larger palette of what he is all about.

In the end, I'm not sure what to make of this one. Most of it feels bland, and it's not a masterpiece. BUT, it's got some very powerful archetypal strengths of plot that allow Star Trek to achieve some of its most noble aims. In the end, I think I want to like it far more than I actually do.

Season Three Rankings:

  1. Tin Man (This one has it all, exploring inner character and outer strange new life, all while racing the Romulans. Could be more polished in places, but very satisfying, and very Star Trek.)
  2. The Offspring (Picard's initial reaction is too weird, but his final stand is exemplary)
  3. The Best of Both Worlds (Parts 1 & 2)
  4. Who Watches the Watchers (This winner's few flaws [including its final fix] hold it back from running away with the top honours of season 3)
  5. Captain's Holiday
  6. Hollow Pursuits (very fun character story, compellingly acted, solid ideas that carry themselves through weird imagery, technobabble climax a bit artificial)
  7. Booby Trap (good mix of archetypal ideas, cleverness, and audio/visual variety)
  8. Evolution
  9. Deja Q (Excellent. Much interest and visual excitement surrounding the moon falling out of orbit, which mirrors Q falling from grace. Characters on form exploring various topics. Least favourite part was Whoopi, who goes off-colour in this one.)
  10. Yesterday's Enterprise (has its stand-out moments and much charismatic nonsense. Ultimately the unreal/mislabeled environment of the premise inhibits my emotional investment in much of what happens here.)

  11. Transfigurations
  12. The Price (I never liked Troi's greasy, oily romance, but the rest of the ep is good: Ferengi used well for the first time, groundwork for Voyager laid, character turns are plentiful, intriguing, & well-thought-out)
  13. Sins of the Father (intriguing plot with lots of turns, good change of scenery, Picard very active, but the ep. has too many primitive values in control)
  14. Sarek (doesn't have a great draw, but it delivers a very polished story with surprising depth)
  15. The Vengeance Factor (explores a good variety of location, action, & ideas. Ending is problematic.)
  16. The Defector (very good A plot, with a mixed bag of character material. Some philosophical discussions are I think pointed in a wrong and/or lost direction [copying Shakespeare too much?] )
  17. Ménage à Troi (tons of entertaining scenes in this one, but the prisoner routine projects dullness and ickiness that drags the episode's rank down)
  18. The Hunted (an entertaining action show, with some clumsy moral speeches patched on)
  19. The Survivors (good mystery, variety of location & action, & well-made, but all depressing after final reveal)
  20. The Enemy (nice tense intro for Tomalok, action decent but not great, Geordi's adventure a bit dull)

  21. The Ensigns of Command (Data's mission stinks, and planetside issues often feature abysmal values & reasoning. However, this ep. also features one of my top favourite negotiations for Picard.)
  22. A Matter of Perspective (mildly interesting, but exploring perspective in this fashion seems to have yielded only unimpressive surface versions of events.)
  23. The High Ground (an ugly situation and its characters are explored... but what really is the point of this story? To hit better, important philosophical points, this ep would have needed to see through today's propaganda, not wrestle with its cover stories.)
  24. The Bonding (Writer Ron Moore debuts in typical fashion, squeezing characters to emote through death & loss. Well written & executed, but not a topic I enjoy or want to see, hence a low rank.)
  25. Allegiance (despite a nice final payoff, it's a boring ep-long capture & escape routine, alternating with fake ship-board relations. Dull, and then some.)
  26. The Most Toys (one good line: "You're suggesting he created a problem just to solve it?" Everything else is crap - not only boring, but bad for the psyche too.)

This Next Generation Season Three time travel story is available on DVD and Blu-ray:

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three (1989-1990):

Captain Jean-Luc Picard and crew hit their stride in this third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and truly began to shine as only they could. Watch all 26 ground-breaking episodes, culminating in the season cliffhanger that many regard as the first half of the best Next Generation story of all time.

Includes 26 episodes @ 45 minutes each.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for more information:


DVD Canada

7-disc DVD set

DVD Canada


DVD Extras include 4 featurettes:

  • Season 3 "Mission Overview" (17 min.)
  • Crew Changes (14 min.)
  • Dept. Briefings: Production (20 min.)
  • Dept. Briefings: Memorable Missions (13 min.)
These extras feature interviews by cast and crew discussing favourite memories, cast input and response to character development, and new writer Michael Piller's insights into episodes' story mechanics.
Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
April 30, 2013.
Blu-ray Canada

NEW for
April 30, 2013.
Blu-ray U.K.

NEW for
April 29, 2013.

6-disc Blu-ray box set

Additional Blu-ray Bonus Features include:

  • 5 Audio commentaries including:
    • "The Bonding" with writer Ronald D. Moore and scenic/graphic artists Mike and Denise Okuda.
    • "Yesterday's Enterprise" with Moore, the Okudas, and co-writer Ira Steven Behr.
    • "Yesterday's Enterprise" with director David Carson.
    • "The Offspring" with writer René Echevarria and the Okudas.
    • "Sins of the Father" with Moore, the Okudas, and visual effects technician Dan Curry.
  • "Assimilating the Next Gen." (HD) 3-part season three making-of documentary (90 min. total), with Moore, Behr, Echevarria, Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Brent Spiner (Data), Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher), Michael Dorn (Worf).
  • "Inside the Writers' Room" (HD) roundtable interview (71 min.) with Moore, Echevarria, Brannon Braga, and Naren Shankar.
  • A Tribute to head writer Michael Piller (HD, 14 min.)
  • Gag Reel (HD, 9 min.)
  • In Memoriam: David Rappaport (5 min.)
  • Promos for each individual episode
  • plus, all featurettes from the DVD version.

Article & reviews written by Martin Izsak. Comments are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

Contact page


Read the next Star Trek review: "The Best of Both Worlds"

Home Page Site Map Science Fiction Doctor Who Sliders The Matrix Star Trek Catalogue