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Season Seven:
-252-253: "Descent"
-254: "Liaisons"
-256-257: "Gambit"
-263: "Parallels"
-265: "Homeward"
-268: "Thine Own Self"
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Thine Own Self

(Star Trek - The Next Generation episode production code 268)
  • story by Christopher Hatton
  • teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
  • directed by Winrich Kolbe
  • music by Dennis McCarthy

Thine Own Self

This episode is interesting for a number of reasons. Data's half of the story takes place in a less-developed pre-warp society on a planet, where he violates the Prime Directive in a quiet way that is very scary in its carelessness. There are a lot of parallels here with the season three original series episode "The Paradise Syndrome" with a loss of memory pretty much excusing the Starfleet personnel of all Prime Directive violations. We don't get quite as interesting an episode here, but it's not bad. The Prime Directive considerations are actually off the point of the story though, and don't really receive much acknowledgement.

Data's actual memory fragmentation seems a bit contrived to support the episode as well. He can remember most of the English language (or enough of some language for the universal translator to kick in), yet conveniently forgets his own name and his past. He can remember most scientific concepts and terminology, but has conveniently forgotten the word "radioactive" and its implications. It all feels a bit too convenient to be natural.

In fact, the much more interesting aspect of this episode is what happens on board the Enterprise. The previous episode "Lower Decks", one of the great concept-stretching episodes of the series, really did a good job of highlighting the idea of rank on the ship, and gave the spotlight to five minor characters who mainly struggled for their next promotion. This is probably the first time we get a close-up of nothing but a pip lying on a table instead of on the collar of a Starfleet uniform, while it is reinforced upon us that THAT is how rank is indicated on the ship.

This episode continues the theme of rank and counting pips. I spent many, many episodes trying to count the pips on Dr. Crusher's collar, while her hair usually got in the way of determining if she had two and a half, or the full three. And as for Troi, good luck trying to count anything before her mid-season-six switch to proper uniforms. Well, nicely the two of them get a very good scene at the beginning of "Thine Own Self" discussing and comparing their ranks, which launches Troi's quest for the promotion from 2.5 to 3 pips.

And she makes it! This is big. Now she has the same rank as Commander Riker, and apparently Dr. Crusher has also been on equal footing with him for a long time without really letting it show.

This is bizarre though when you consider that Data is actually supposed to be next in command after Picard and Riker, yet he is still making do with only 2.5 pips, indicating a rank of lieutenant commander. In actual fact, he should have to get in line behind Crusher and Troi from now on as well.

Of course, why Riker still has only three pips after his promotion to Captain in "The Best of Both Worlds" beats the hell out of me. He should be up to 3.5 pips at least, whatever rank that is. Or let him have the full four, and let Picard be a commodore, as the star of each television series deserves. Admiral seems to be six pips, so does that mean a commodore would have five?

Well, obviously rank is more interesting than the Prime Directive here, and Data's planetary adventure is suitably upstaged.

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: "Journey's End"

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