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Season Seven:
-252-253: "Descent"
-254: "Liaisons"
-256-257: "Gambit"
-263: "Parallels"
-265: "Homeward"
-268: "Thine Own Self"
-272: "Journey's End"
-273: "Firstborn"
-277-278: "All Good Things..."

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(Star Trek - The Next Generation episode production code 254)
  • story by Roger Eschbacher & Jaq Greenspon
  • teleplay by Jeanne Carrigan Fauci & Lisa Rich
  • directed by Cliff Bole


This story actually turns out to be far more interesting and enjoyable than one could guess from watching the cookie-cutter formula advertising spots that were churned out for it.

It's pretty much the "B" and "C" stories on the Enterprise involving the rest of the crew that steal the show, with Worf's story kicking off right from the beginning, mirroring some archetypal human frustrations, and providing an unending series of fun character moments. It's amazing how much excellent material we have here, and how inexpensive to shoot, simply because the characters are so well defined and the writers use a bit of imagination. Great stuff.

Counsellor Troi also gets an interesting subplot of her own, which both complements and counterpoints Worf's. Riker is used well in this episode as he supports both of his shipmates with their assignments and emphasizes the team effort.

But it's Picard who has the main "A" plot today, chiefly in a location far removed from the rest of the show. There's quite a bit of rather bland set-up to get through before this plot reveals its uniqueness, yet it does eventually move through a large number of interesting twists and turns in a satisfyingly organic fashion. I think perhaps the original advertising spoiled the episode in giving away one of the later turns, which kind of puts the audience in a waiting pattern until it shows up. Perhaps the episode works better when one has either no idea of where it might go, or an understanding of the complete arc of ideas that it will tackle in good time (as in a second viewing, or a tenth viewing).

On the negative side, which the ads make you anticipate, is the idea that we're gonna watch one crewmember trapped off ship for an entire episode. True, this is one of the lower budget shows of the season... at least it looks that way in giving us a very 1960's style set for the planet's surface. And true, we've seen Picard suffer these inconsequential one-offs in previous post-season-cliffhanger-resolution first episodes, with "Darmok" easily coming to mind for comparison.

I think the characters are scripted and acted out with a fair grounding. Picard is consistent with his past self in resisting Anna as firmly as he does. This is not a man who moves into this kind of idea quickly. Anna's actions constitute bizarre behaviour, while actress Barbara Williams puts just the right tone on those behaviours to make you believe that she's a case of best intentions gone slightly whacko, inspiring both the empathy and the distrust that Picard displays.

Ultimately, the episode feels like it was two separate ideas from separate writing teams that worked and worked until they found a way to sit together and complement each other. The final truth of it all which they managed to come up with fits together logically and makes sense, but in the process I think it sabotages a bit of the archetypal power of the planet-side drama. Ambassador Voval turns out to be one weird and slightly gross dude. How differently might this episode fair if that character had been female? Judging from the information Troi learns from her guest, perhaps we do need to ask if this species even has males and females.

Not a bad episode in the end, but certainly not one that improved upon the drawing power that "Descent" had, or one that leaves you with a great warm and fuzzy feeling towards season seven's prospects. Well, just wait for it. Season Seven's good episodes are coming soon enough....

This Next Generation Season Seven story is available on DVD and Blu-ray:

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Seven (1993-1994):

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:

  • Mission Overview: Year Seven
  • A Captain's Tribute
  • Departmental Briefing: Production
  • Starfleet Moments and Memories
  • Special Profiles
  • Inside Starfleet Archives: Dressing the Future
  • The Making of "All Good Things..."
Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
Dec. 2, 2014.
Blu-ray Canada

NEW for
Dec. 2, 2014.
Blu-ray U.K.

NEW for
Dec. 15, 2014.

Blu-ray features add:

  • 3 Audio Commentaries:
    • "Parallels" by writer Brannon Braga (2008).
    • "Lower Decks" by co-writer René Echevarria and
      scenic/graphic artists Mike and Denise Okuda.
    • "Preemptive Strike" by the Okudas and
      writers René Echevarria and Naren Shankar.
  • Three-part documentary "The Sky's the Limit - The Eclipse of ST:TNG" (HD, 90 min. total) with all seven regular castmembers, plus Wil Wheaton (Wesley), Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan), Natalija Nogulich (Admiral Nechayev), and John de Lancie (Q), writer/producers Rick Berman, Ronald D. Moore, Braga, Echevarria, Shankar, Larry Nemecek, André Bormanis, producer/director David Livingston, and many others.
  • "Journey's End: The Saga of ST:TNG" (45 min.) (1994)
  • "Closed Set: A Tour of the Real Enterprise" (11 min.)
  • "In Conversation: Lensing ST:TNG" (42 min.) with Livingston,
    director James L. Conway, D.O.P. Jonathan West, and
    camera operator Kris Krosskove.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 5 min.)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD) from 15 episodes.
  • Episodic Promos
  • plus, all featurettes from the DVD version.
  • Main audio tracks in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

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

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Read the next Star Trek review: "Gambit"

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