(written from a Production point of view)
|TNG, Episode 3x18|
Production number: 40273-166
First aired: 26 March 1990
|←||65th of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||65th of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||172nd of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Richard Manning & Hans Beimler
Captain Picard and three other people are abducted and imprisoned by an unknown force and replaced by duplicates.
Captain Picard is reading in his room when he is scanned by a mysterious probe and transported away to an unknown room where he cannot communicate with the USS Enterprise-D. On the bridge, an unknown energy source is detected in the captain's quarters. The captain doesn't answer when paged, so a security team immediately heads to investigate. As they attempt to open the door to his quarters, they find the captain standing there, book and glass in hand, as if nothing at all is out of the ordinary.
The "captain" running the Enterprise is a replacement of some type, but still seems to have all of the memories and experiences of Picard. His behavior, however, is somehow unusual for the captain. It is subtle, but his demeanor has changed, he is more outgoing yet emotionless. His actions become more and more unusual as time passes. He orders the crew to stop their course, and head towards a well-studied pulsar at a very slow speed. The crew does not understand this but follows orders.
Meanwhile in the holding cell, Picard takes charge of the situation and attempts to find a way out. Tholl believes in peaceful non-resistance; his homeworld has been conquered a number of times. Because of this he refuses to help in escape and in fact tries to convince the others to stop trying. He states that he tried once earlier and received an extremely painful punishment. Cadet Haro is willing to do whatever Picard says. A moment later, a Chalnoth named Esoqq materializes and becomes extremely angry. Though he pulls out a large knife, the captain is able to calm him down by saying that he has visited Esoqq's homeworld.
Back on the ship, the Picard replacement stops in at the poker game and asks La Forge to increase the efficiency of the warp drive from 93% to 95%. This is the first time he has ever stopped in for a poker game. He asks to speak with Troi and when outside asks if the crew is suspicious of his actions in any way. She reminds him that such changes are not unusual and that she will tell him if they become distrustful. The conversation itself is rather odd and just a bit suspicious in and of itself.
Esoqq finds that he is incapable of eating the food tablet that is the only nourishment provided. He is already quick to violence but he says that he can go only three to four days without food, but no more. He then eyes Tholl hungrily.
The replacement captain on the ship then gets a physical examination and appears to be in perfect health, Dr. Crusher does not understand why Picard would need a physical as he was not due for a checkup in a month, and normally he hates physicals. Picard then invites Crusher to dinner in his quarters and she seems surprised about this unexpected gesture.
In the holding cell, after some discussion they decide to try to open the door and escape, notwithstanding the risks and Tholl opposition. Esoqq smashes a panel. Haro then works on the circuits to try to rig the door open. The door opens a crack, and then Picard, Esoqq and Haro are punished by painful green rays.
On the Enterprise, Crusher is having dinner with the replacement Picard. She tells Picard that she knows that something is on his mind and he says he wants a more intimate relationship. They talk about their duty and how both their jobs require professional distance. He then asks her to dance. Surprised, Crusher exclaims she thought that Picard didn't dance, he responds, only on special occasions. He then kisses her, Crusher gets the feeling that something is odd and asks if she is being played. Picard calls it a night and shows her the door.
At this point, in the holding cell, they begin to accuse each other. Esoqq accuses Tholl of being the enemy because he refused to help and seemed to sit there observing them, he claimed he was peaceful. The remainder of the attack was directed toward Picard because he was ordering them all around all the time. Haro vouched for him by citing some of the deeds Picard had participated in. After clearing up some the conflicts in the holding cell, they all decide that it would be better to work together than to bicker about whose fault it was.
Troi and Riker are sitting in Ten Forward talking about the unusual acts of the captain. Picard walks into Ten Forward and greets and congratulates Geordi La Forge for his success on increasing the efficiency of warp drive. He then decide to buy ale for him and for all the people. He then starts to sing a song with everyone. Riker becomes increasingly suspicious about the unusual behavior.
The senior staff all meet together to discuss Picard's odd behavior. They are concerned but there is not enough cause for mutiny. "The next move is his", states Riker as the meeting is adjourned.
The Enterprise finally arrives to the pulsar. Picard then orders to move the ship dangerously close to it, so close that their shields will only last 18 minutes. Riker asks to speak in private with Picard, and once in the ready room, complains about these orders. Picard suggests that Riker has been under a lot of stress and should get a physical examination.
In the holding cell all of the prisoners cooperate in disabling the green ray and opening the access door, only to find a wall behind the door that they managed to open.
On the Enterprise, Picard orders to move even closer to the Pulsar, which would almost certainly destroy the ship. Riker orders to disregard Picard's orders, so Picard commands Worf to remove Riker from the bridge, but Worf does not budge.
Riker takes control of the ship and orders the ship away from the pulsar.
By now, the prisoners are depressed and confused. Picard, having long grown suspicious of Haro, announces to everyone that the entire thing had been an elaborate test to see how everyone acts under leadership; there was Tholl, the pacifist, who follows whoever has the most power; Esoqq, the anarchist, who rejects authority of all kinds; Haro, the starfleet cadet, sworn to follow the orders of a superior officer; and Picard, a Starfleet captain, trained to command. He notes that there were tasks designed to require them to work together to complete, and that the Chalnoth was unable to eat the food, to make him a threat.
Picard then reveals that Haro is the enemy because when defending Picard's reputation, she cited a classified fact, one that no cadet could know. The cadet immediately morphs into an alien and explains that it was true and they were studying leadership, and Picard's knowledge of the experiment would taint the results.
Picard is transported to his ship and the fake one was revealed as a sort of replica. They were able to even clone the thoughts and experiences of Picard, though it clearly wasn't perfect. The Picard clone had been testing how far his crew would follow him, even to death.
The real Picard gives his crew a subtle signal to let them know that he wants the aliens to be trapped in a force field. Once trapped, they become afraid. Picard reminds them that imprisonment is its own harm and that they should rethink the morality of their experiments, and that the Federation has the ability to trap them again. Picard sets them free and they transport away.
Picard asks the crew how they knew it was a replica and Riker explained that he didn't know that Picard could sing that well. Dr. Crusher enters the bridge and sits next to Picard and glances him in a flirtatious manner, making Picard uncomfortable as they return to their normal course.
"My given name is Esoqq. It means fighter."
"I'll bet half the names in Chalnoth language mean fighter."
"Mizarians, your names all mean surrender!"
- - Esoqq and Kova Tholl
"What is this?"
"The only food?!"
"It would seem so."
- (Esoqq nibbles food)
- - Esoqq and Jean-Luc Picard
"The next beams might be lethal!"
"Not to you. You moved FAR from the door!"
- - Kova Tholl and Esoqq
"Then my doppelganger caused no serious damage. The replica was convincing?"
"Very convincing, but not perfect."
"Not perfect in what way?"
"Well sir, I find it hard to believe that you're that good a singer."
- - Captain Picard and William T. Riker
Story and production
- This episode, along with "The Offspring", was written in part to balance the series' budget after "Yesterday's Enterprise". Michael Piller commented, "I'm a great fan of intimate shows, and it was a simple show from a production point of view, because you needed only one set." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Piller saw this episode as a chance to flesh out Picard's character. "We wanted to come up with some real fun for both Patrick the actor and Jean-Luc the character, so we came up with this idea. It might have been two ideas put into one. One was Picard gets stuck in a no-exit situation, and a false Picard takes his place on the Enterprise. I loved the stuff on the Enterprise, wonderful character stuff and Patrick was wonderful. I thought it was a good, solid show and immediately following that was "Captain's Holiday", which, again, was borne out of the fact that we wanted to give the captain some characterization." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Ronald D. Moore remarked, "Picard does some things that had only been in the real Picard's mind. Watching him sing in Ten Forward gave everyone a kick. And the scene with Beverly in his cabin was kind of fun. I like the fact we've taken him apart more and really are seeing what makes this guy tick." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- The song that the fake Picard sings in Ten Forward with the crew is called Heart of Oak.
- This was Winrich Kolbe's favorite episode out of the ones he directed. "I like it because we did something stylistically interesting in the lit room where the four people were incarcerated. It was Patrick's show and I always know when it's going to be Patrick's show it's going to be a good one because he's so damn good in everything that he does...I liked the look of it and what Marvin Rush was able to do, and Richard James the set designer. What you have to consider in directing any kind of entertainment concept is time and money. We were so far behind after the first two days that basically the whole hierarchy of Paramount was camping out on my set. Then we went into the new set, the octagonal chamber and suddenly we were taking off. We came in under budget and under time. It was a set that was terrific to shoot in and I could put the camera anywhere I wanted to." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Captain Picard's quarters are seen to be on deck 9, room 3601.
- This episode features one of only two occasions in the whole series that Picard (real or otherwise) drops into the weekly poker game, the other being in the final scene of "All Good Things...".
- This episode marks the second appearance of a Bolian, though technically Mitena Haro is actually a fake Bolian.
- Esoqq's outfit was modified and later became Morn's costume on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Captain Picard makes a reference to Enterprise's visit to Mintaka III in TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers" as something unlikely that a first year cadet would know about.
- When Haro is talking about Picard's successful missions, he looks at her and says "Cor Caroli V", and she immediately mentions the Phyrox plague. This is something that just happened recently and wouldn't be in the books yet.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 33, 6 December 1991.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 3.6, 14 August 2000.
- As part of the TNG Season 3 DVD collection.
- As part of the Region 2 release of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- Stephen Markle as Kova Tholl
- Reiner Schöne as Esoqq
- Joycelyn O'Brien as Mitena Haro
- Jerry Rector as Alien #1
- Jeff Rector as Alien #2
- Joe Bauman as Garvey
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Eben Ham as operations division officer
- Debbie Marsh as command division officer
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- John Rice as science division officer
- Richard Sarstedt as command division officer
- Unknown performers
- Jeffrey Deacon - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman - stand-in for Wil Wheaton
2354; Board of inquiry; Bolians; Bolarus IX; Browder IV; Chalna; Chalnoth; Cor Caroli V; dendrite; Jean-Luc Picard (impostor); Hood, USS; Lonka Cluster; Mintaka III; Mizarians; Moropa; murder; neutron star; Ordek Nebula; physical; Phyrox plague; Romulans; sextant; Starfleet Academy; Stargazer, USS; Wogneer creatures
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