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The Child (episode)

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"The Child"
TNG, Episode 2x01
Production number: 40272-127
First aired: 21 November 1988
26th of 176 produced in TNG
26th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
132nd of 728 released in all
Ian Troi reverts to energy
Written By
Jaron Summers, Jon Povill and Maurice Hurley

Directed By
Rob Bowman
42073.1 (2365)
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Counselor Troi is shocked to find out she is pregnant; Wesley Crusher is weighing his options for the future, with the help of the proprietor of the ship's lounge, Ten Forward. (Season Premiere)

Summary

LaForge explains containment unit

"Now I have to go and replicate this five hundred and twelve times."

The USS Enterprise-D is in the midst of a rendezvous with the USS Repulse. As a Repulse shuttle leaves the Enterprise's hangar bay, Commander Riker contacts the Repulse and says they are on the way. The Repulse's captain acknowledges and asks that Riker give his regards to his captain. Riker then goes to report to Captain Picard and at the same time, the ship's new chief engineer, Geordi La Forge, explains to both Picard and Riker about the containment module he's constructing in one of the ship's cargo bays. The containment module is to hold dangerous specimens of plasma plague that Enterprise is going to be transferring for research to the Rachelis system in hopes of developing an antidote.

Meanwhile, as Enterprise begins to head for Rachelis, Counselor Troi, asleep in her quarters, suddenly wakes up as her body is entered by a strange alien entity.

The Enterprise also has a new Chief Medical Officer; Doctor Katherine Pulaski has replaced Doctor Crusher, who has left to head Starfleet Medical. Captain Picard is annoyed when the new doctor fails to check in with him and is surprised when after calling down to sickbay, Picard discovers that Pulaski has already found Ten Forward and he goes there to meet her. He's met by Wesley Crusher, who has temporarily remained aboard Enterprise and will shortly be joining his mother. Picard apologizes that their mission will delay that reunion, but Wesley says it gives him time to work on some projects.

Picard meets Pulaski

"Protocol may have been lax on your last assignment..."

When he admits that leaving the Enterprise will be difficult, Picard says it's always like that and it will be part of the life that Wesley is choosing and then is forced to agree when Wesley comments that Enterprise isn't just any ship. Upon arriving at Ten Forward, Picard is pointed to Pulaski by Guinan. When he arrives at her table, he finds her with Troi and as Picard begins lecturing Pulaski about protocol, she interrupts him and asks him to sit down as he needs to hear what they are talking about. Picard sits down and is informed that Troi is pregnant.

Shortly after, in a staff meeting in the observation lounge, Picard briefly introduces Dr. Pulaski, saying they'll handle formal introductions later as Riker reaches out to shake her hand. He then announces to the senior staff (minus La Forge, who has just finished with the construction of the containment module and is restarting Enterprise's warp drive) that Troi is pregnant, which surprises Riker and he says so. Deanna says it's even more of a surprise for her. Pulaski takes over and then reports on two separate examinations of Troi. The first exam shows the fetus at a rather early stage of development but still rather advanced considering she and Troi believe conception took place eleven hours previous, news which shocks Riker. Pulaski says the news just gets better as a second examination, which took place a few hours later shows that the fetus seems to have gained several weeks of growth. Pulaski says that at that rate, Troi will be ready to give birth in only 36 hours, while the normal Betazoid gestation period is ten months.

Pulaski displays fetal scan

"This pregnancy is unlike anything I have ever encountered."

Riker turns to Troi and, while he doesn't mean to sound indelicate, he demands to know who the father is. Troi says that while she slept the night before, something that she can only describe as a presence entered her body. Riker asks Pulaski what the baby is and she says it is a male Human/Betazoid hybrid, exactly as Deanna and there is no evidence of any genetic material other than her.

Worf believes that the child represents a threat to the Enterprise's security and should be aborted. Data says to Picard that doing so would deprive them of the opportunity to study this new life form. Worf says that laboratory analysis should still be possible if there is an abortion. When Riker asks if there would be any risks to Troi in such a procedure, Troi (who has been hearing the baby's heartbeat as the others discuss the situation) finally speaks to Picard and says that he should do what is necessary to protect Enterprise, but that she is going to have this baby. Picard then says the discussion is over.

Several hours later, the Enterprise-D arrives at the 'aucdet IX Federation research station to pick up the samples of deadly plasma plague as well as a medical trustee named Hester Dealt who will supervise the transfer of plasma plague specimens to Enterprise and then later to the Rachelis system. He asks Picard if he can inspect the containment module and explains that while he doesn't mean to sound distrustful of Picard's crew, it is only that they can't make any kind of mistakes with these specimens. Picard agrees but he tells Dealt he wants a complete, detailed manifest of everything he intends to bring aboard the ship. Dealt transports aboard the ship and conducts a painstaking, fourteen hour inspection of the containment module. Until Dealt is assured of zero growth, he will not permit the transfer. Finally, as the pleas from Rachelis grows, the final manifest is received. Picard sends Data to review it with Dr. Pulaski.

Data and a pregnant Troi

"Data, will you help me to sickbay?"

As Data heads for sickbay, he encounters Troi, who has entered labor and asks for Data's help. When they arrive in sickbay Data calls for Worf to bring his security team to sickbay. When Pulaski asks if that's necessary Data says it is on Picard's order. When Pulaski tells Troi that the father is usually present for deliveries that she's conducted, Data volunteers to fill in. Pulaski at first refuses, saying Deanna will need a comforting human touch and not a cold hand of technology but Troi says Data will do fine. After Worf and his team arrive, Pulaski tells him to stay back and that while she understands the need for them to be there, she insists they stay out of underfoot.

Troi gives birth

"This is an impatient baby!"

As they wait for the birth, Troi tells Data that he doesn't need to be nervous, but just be there for her. Data says he's not nervous, but intrigued. He then asks Deanna some questions about the baby which amuse her but then she interrupts him when labor intensifies. He then calls for Pulaski who comes over and the birthing process begins. Pulaski asks if Troi wants something for the pain, although it won't diminish the experience at all. Troi says she has not felt any pain which surprises Pulaski. Then very shortly afterward, the baby is born.

Pulaski cleans him off and then hands him to Troi, asking if easy births are the norm for Betazoids and Troi says it's not, at least according to her mother. Data thanks Troi for the opportunity to observe the birth and that it was remarkable. Pulaski asks Troi if she has a name and she says he will be named Ian Andrew, after her father.

Then Riker (who came in during the birth) steps up and tells Troi that the baby is beautiful, just like her. He then bends down and kisses her cheek. Pulaski asks how Deanna feels and she says she feels wonderful and thanks Pulaski for everything. But after only a few hours, when Pulaski and Picard come to check on Troi, they are shocked to find out that Ian has grown into a young boy.

Younger Ian Troi

"Please don't worry. Everything is okay."

Later, the plague advances into a new state and threatens the entire ship. Source of the problem cannot be established until an event occurs between Troi and Ian. Ian states that he is the source of the problem and that only he can resolve the situation. Shortly after, Ian passes away in the arms of Troi and his death is verified by the new acting Medical Officer. Several minutes later Ian transforms back to the glowing white light that visited Troi earlier and thanks Troi for the experience. After this event two facts are established; first, the white light was an alien lifeform interested in Humans and took it upon itself to experience human interaction by becoming one. Secondly, the formation of the new plague was caused by the entity which emitted an electric charge that caused the plague to multiply.

Wesley Crusher was expected to join his mother at Starfleet Medical during her duration there. Wesley debates about his departure from the Enterprise and while doing so he is observed by new shipmate, Guinan. The two carry a conversation about his status on the Enterprise and what is in his best interest. Wesley meets with Picard and requests that he stay on the Enterprise. Picard doesn't decide right away, feeling that the decision wasn't his responsibility alone and that allowing Wesley to remain would create difficulties for all. Picard decides that Data will assume responsibility for Wesley's studies.

Guinan meets Wesley

"Don't you see your future?"

When Riker asks "who will tuck him in at night?" Worf accepts that responsibility although Troi expresses confidence that Wes will get his sleep. Picard agrees that the practical is then taken care of but as there's much more to growing up than just the practical matters, he then asks Riker if he would be interested in serving in that regard and Riker agrees. With that taken care of, Picard tells Wesley to communicate with his mother at Starfleet Medical, giving her Picard's regards and telling her that Picard has approved Wesley's request to stay on Enterprise, but that the final decision would be hers. Wesley is grateful and enthusiastically believes that Beverly will agree.

Wesley Crusher becomes the regular conn (helm) officer on the bridge as La Forge is relocated as Chief Engineer to the rear of the bridge. Picard refers to Wesley as "ensign" in the end and it seems that Wesley has in fact been accepted into Starfleet and his status as acting ensign is secure.

Memorable Quotes

"I don't mean to be indelicate... but who's the father?""

- William T. Riker


"With all your neural nets, algorithims and heuristics, is there some combination that makes up a circuit for bruised feelings?"

- Pulaski, after Data corrects her after she mispronounced his name


"Last night while I slept... something, which I can only describe as a presence, entered my body."

- Deanna Troi


"A lifeform of unknown origin and intent is breeding right now inside Counselor Troi."

- Jean-Luc Picard

Background Information

Season premiere

  • This is the premiere episode of TNG's 2nd Season. Composer Dennis McCarthy heralds the return of TNG with a "triumphant" rendition of "Picard's Theme."
  • This is also the first episode in which Riker wears a beard. He gained it after Jonathan Frakes returned for filming having grown it, intending to shave it off for the new season. During the hiatus, he appeared with Gene Roddenberry at a convention. Roddenberry asked the audience for their opinion of Frakes' beard. The resulting cheering convinced Roddenberry to ask him to keep it. He would eventually shave it off many years later in Star Trek: Insurrection (although he regrew it by time Star Trek Nemesis came around).
  • Before this episode (but after Stardate 41986.0), Lt. JG Geordi La Forge was promoted to Lieutenant and became Chief Engineer of the Enterprise, and he and Lt. JG Worf both switched to the operations division.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Worf's silver baldric, which he would keep throughout the remainder of The Next Generation, throughout his stint on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and in all four TNG movies. His previous (gold fabric) baldric was of the type worn by Klingon commanders in the classic Star Trek series. This episode also shows that Worf is now the official permanent security chief, having been made "acting" chief of security following the death of Natasha Yar in "Skin of Evil".
  • The conn and ops seats at the front of the bridge are now upright, instead of heavily reclined as they were in Season 1.
  • This episode introduced the characters of Katherine Pulaski and Guinan. Dr. Beverly Crusher is explained to have left the ship to become head of Starfleet Medical. Actress Gates McFadden left at the end of season one.
  • This is the only second season episode to have Beverly Crusher referenced. She will be seen on archive footage in TNG: "Shades of Gray".
Goldberg and Stewart

Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart on the set of "The Child".

  • Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg asked Gene Roddenberry (through her friend LeVar Burton) to create a recurring role for her because she was a big fan of the show. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 64)
  • Guinan doesn't talk too much about herself in-depth. The crew speculates that she's very old, which turns out to be true, and comes from Nova Kron. She tells Wesley that she had not met Picard until she got to the ship, but we later learn that is not true. We won't learn that she's El-Aurian until Star Trek Generations.
  • This is the first episode where Wesley Crusher wears a communicator, even though he was made an acting ensign in Season 1 and there is nothing to indicate a status change since that time. Wesley also debuts his gray "acting ensign's" uniform, which he'll wear until the end of the third season episode "Ménage à Troi".
  • The communicator Wesley wears in the first scene is the standard Silver Delta on Gold Ellipse insignia, however for all remaining scenes, the communicator is a Silver Delta on Silver Ellipse. The change takes place while Commander Riker steps in to the captain's ready room. When he steps out, the communicator is changed. Wesley also wears the 'standard' communicator again briefly while he steps to the window in Ten Forward - it switches to the non-standard form when the camera cuts to a closer shot.
  • From this episode on, the transporter will be "energized" by running the hand above the three "glow strips" on the console, similar to how TOS's transporter was activated. Those glow strips have been on the console since the beginning of the series, but had not previously been used to energize the transporter.
  • The warp speed visual effect, shown from inside the Enterprise, debuts in this episode. On DS9, it will be modified to include a "flash" at the end of the sequence.
  • Ten Forward debuts in this episode. It is located on Deck 10, Forward Station 1. The turbolift command to get there will later be shortened to "Deck 10, Forward," or simply "Ten Forward."

Story

Production

Shooting The Child

Goldberg, Wheaton and director Rob Bowman.

  • The panel that Dr. Katharine Pulaski brings up to research the origins of the plasma plague contains the names of TNG staff Rob Bowman, Maurice Hurley, Jaron Sommers, Jon Povill, Robert Legato, and Gary Hutzel.
  • Rob Bowman was granted permission by Rick Berman to use extra cameras and equipment for this episode. Bowman explained, "I think that being the first episode of the second season, my thrust was to make sure we gave the audience something that would justify their wait over the summer for the first episode." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 173)
  • Marina Sirtis told in an interview that her "big fat stomach" in this episode was filled with birdseed. ("Selected Crew Analysis Year Two", TNG Season 2 DVD special feature)
  • Deanna Troi debuts her maroon casual attire in this episode.
  • Music composer Dennis McCarthy cited the opening theme of "The Child" as his favorite theme. ("Departmental Briefing Year Two: Production - Music", TNG Season 2 DVD special feature)

Awards

  • This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Dennis McCarthy).

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Special appearance by

Guest star

and

Special guest star

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stand-ins

References

2294; 2295; abortion; Arneb; 'aucdet IX; Betazoids; cyanoacrylates; biobed; Bowman, Dr. Rob; containment module; D'Alison; Delovian souffle; dog; eager beaver; Earth;eichner radiation; Epsilon Indi; Federation; fetus; Hurley, Dr. Maurice; litter; Lorenze Cluster; Mareuvian tea; medical trustee; microscope; Morgana Quadrant; mutation; Nova Kron; Nuress, Dr. Susan; nursery; Oby VI; Oby system; plasma plague; Povill, Dr. Jon; Prometheus; Rachelis system; Repulse, USS; saucer separation; Science Station Tango Sierra; Stargazer, USS; subspace phase inverter; Summers, Dr. Jaron; Starfleet Medical; Transporter Room Three; tricorder; Type 7 shuttlecraft; Troi, Ian Andrew; Troi, Lwaxana

Log entries

External links


Previous episode:
"The Neutral Zone"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2
Next episode:
"Where Silence Has Lease"

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