(written from a Production point of view)
|TNG, Episode 5x17|
Production number: 40275-217
First aired: 16 March 1992
|←||116th of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||116th of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||224th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Riker falls in love with Soren, a member of an androgynous race known as the J'naii, who dares to be female.
When the J'naii mysteriously lose track of one of their shuttlecraft within their own star system, they request the USS Enterprise-D crew to assist in the investigation to locate it. A pocket of null space is discovered in the system. Believing the missing shuttle to be trapped inside the pocket, Commander Riker and Soren of the J'naii devise a rescue plan. Soren insists on being involved in the rescue mission.
Working closely with the Enterprise crew, and Commander Riker in particular, Soren reveals to be curious about the differences between males and females. Even though there are differences, Beverly Crusher tells Soren, men and women are considered equal. However during a poker game Worf reveals he is bothered by the genderless J'naii, because he still has stereotypical views on men and women and does not know how to relate to the J'naii.
Soren reveals to Riker that the J'naii consider it a criminal perversion for a J'naii to identify as either male or female, but Soren admits to having secretly identified as a female since childhood and having had relationships in secret with those who identify as males. Soren finds Riker attractive and is interested in starting a relationship with him. After the successful rescue of the J'naii shuttle crew, Riker and Soren secretly kiss. The kiss is witnessed by Krite, a colleague of Soren, who subsequently has Soren arrested. At the same time, Riker is discussing with Deanna Troi how it would affect their relationship if he pursues the relationship with Soren. Troi puts aside Riker's fears of losing their friendship.
Soren is brought before a tribunal to confirm or deny the charges of perversion. Commander Riker intrudes on the proceedings and pleads for Soren's release, saying he forced himself on Soren. Soren however is tired of living a lie and makes a diatribe for acceptance of all those with gender identities. The tribunal, incapable of open-mindedness, sentences Soren to receive treatment on the following day. Riker asks the tribunal for permission to give Soren asylum aboard the Enterprise in lieu of the treatment, but the request is denied, as the J'naii see Soren's condition as a simple sickness they have an obligation to cure.
Picard offers to negotiate with Noor, the leader of the J'naii, for Soren's release. He urges Riker not to take matters into his own hands as he would be violating the Prime Directive if he does, thus putting himself at risk of losing his career in Starfleet. Riker, however, is convinced the J'naii's minds are set and any negotiations would be futile. Worf overcomes his prejudices after hearing of the events that had transpired on the planet. The same evening, Riker and Worf lead a rescue mission together to save Soren. They are able to get Soren away from the security guards, however they are too late. Soren has already undergone psychotectic treatment and has no more interest in Riker.
After warning buoys have been deployed around the null space pocket, the Enterprise is prepared to leave the system. Picard asks Riker if all their business with the J'naii is finished, and he answers without emotion, "finished, sir".
"Tell me... about males. What is it that makes you different from females?"
"Snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails..."
"You have a dog's tail?"
- - Soren and Riker, discussing the sexes
"Commander, tell me about your sexual organs."
- - Soren and Riker, while in the shuttle
"The J'naii... they bother me."
"They just do!"
- - Worf and Deanna Troi
"On my planet, we have been taught that gender is primitive."
"Maybe so, but sometimes, there is a lot to be said for an experience that's...primitive."
- - Soren and Riker
"Then it is up to women to attract the men?"
"Oh no, men want to be attractive, too. Believe me. They just go about it differently. They like to pretend they're not doing anything to attract a woman, even when it's the most important thing on their minds."
- - Soren and Dr. Crusher
"That is a woman's game...a man's game has no wild cards."
- - Worf, on Troi's use of wildcards in poker
"I am female. I was born that way. I have had those feelings, those longings, all of my life. It is not unnatural. I am not sick because I feel this way. I do not need to be helped. I do not need to be cured. What I need, and what all of those who are like me need, is your understanding. And your compassion. We have not injured you in any way. And yet we are scorned and attacked. And all because we are different. What we do is no different from what you do. We talk and laugh. We complain about work. And we wonder about growing old. We talk about our families and we worry about the future. And we cry with each other when things seem hopeless. All of the loving things that you do with each other - that is what we do. And for that we are called misfits, and deviants and criminals. What right do you have to punish us? What right do you have to change us? What makes you think you can dictate how people love each other?"
- - Soren, to Noor
"You see Commander, on this world, everyone wants to be normal."
- - Noor and Riker
Story and production
- "The Outcast" was filmed between Monday 6 January 1992 and Tuesday 14 January 1992 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. An additional day of second unit filming was Friday 21 February 1992 on Paramount Stage 9. It was the first episode filmed in 1992.
- The Pre-Production meeting for this episode was on 16 December 1991 at 2:00 p.m. at the Cooper Building while the Production Meeting was on 2 January 1992 at 2:00 p.m.
- Like "The Host", DS9: "Rejoined" and ENT: "Stigma", "The Outcast" was one of the few episodes of any of the Star Trek series which brushed on the subject of homosexuality in an allegorical manner. Of the episode, producer Rick Berman said in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, "We thought we had made a very positive statement about sexual prejudice in a distinctively Star Trek way, but we still got letters from those who thought it was just our way of 'washing our hands' of the homosexual situation." The "situation" arose continuously through the run of Star Trek: Enterprise and still does today, with some alleged homophobia on the part of former Star Trek producers. 
- Rick Berman tried not to let perceptions of what the public would find acceptable "influence us too much" in the choice of Riker's opposite, adding "but having Riker engaged in passionate kisses with a male actor might have been a little unpalatable to viewers." (San Jose Mercury News, Grapevine, March 14, 1992) Nevertheless, Jonathan Frakes felt otherwise and would later criticize the decision to cast women in the roles of the J'naii, as a love affair apparently shared between two men would have made the statement of the episode stronger .
- Two lines of dialogue were cut from the final release: Noor explaining to Riker that the J'naii are by all measurements an enlightened race and Riker asking "Then how is it that Soren has no choice about her sexual orientation?" 
- Sexual inequalities were also explored, though secondarily, in "The Outcast", in which Dr. Crusher apparently struggles to recall a time when women were considered to be "weak and inferior". She would assert that those sentiments hadn't been an issue in "a long time", though Worf's statements about a weak hand contributing to a "Woman's Game" of poker might cast some doubt on that...at least from a Klingon perspective. (The dialogue in question is further complicated by statements from Worf, earlier in the series, that "Klingons appreciate strong women.")
- The call sheet for Tuesday 7 January 1992 features a note with congratulations to L.Z. and Gaylene for the birth of their daughter Kristin.
- First UK airdate: April 12 1995
- Megan Cole later plays Senator Kimara Cretak in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes "Image in the Sand" and "Shadows and Symbols".
- Many of the costumes from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay including the costumes of Tara Christie , Janet Lee Orcutt , Laura Granick , Megan Cole , Michelle Cordero , Callan White  , Amanda Getty , Jonathan Frakes , and five J'naii background performers.     
- The aforementioned poker game revealed, for the first time, the specific year of the founding of the United Federation of Planets, with the "Federation Day" game including wild 2s, 6s and aces for the year 2161.
- This episode is one of two episodes in which LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge wears a beard. According to the TNG Companion, while the actor preferred facial hair, the producers did not, though they apparently changed their minds for Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek Nemesis.
- The Magellan was the first armed shuttlecraft to appear in The Next Generation.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 59, 15 February 1993.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 5.6, 18 November 2002.
- As part of the TNG Season 5 DVD collection.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- K.C. Amos as operations division officer
- Rachen Assapiomonwait as Nelson
- Lena Banks as operations division ensign
- Jane Bauer as J'naii
- Thomas J. Booth as operations division officer
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Tara Christie as J'naii pilot
- Michelle Cordero as J'naii
- Gerard David, Jr. as operations division ensign
- Holiday Freeman as J'naii civilian
- Gina Gallante as civilian
- Keith Gearhart as civilian
- Gerrardo as J'naii pilot
- Amanda Getty as J'naii judge
- Laura Granick as J'naii leader
- Hall as J'naii leader
- Christie Haydon as command division ensign
- Mark Lentry as civilian
- Debbie Marsh as command division ensign
- Mercedes as J'naii pilot
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Janet Lee Orcutt as J'naii guard
- Mary Peters as J'naii guard
- Joyce Robinson as Gates
- Stanners as J'naii leader
- John Tampoya as command division ensign
- Christina Wegler Miles as command division ensign
- Unknown performers as
Stand-ins and photo double
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Patty Davis - stand-in for Melinda Culea
- Tim McCormack - stand-in for Brent Spiner & Callan White
- Melba - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden & Melinda Culea
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in and photo double for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- James Washington - stand-in for Michael Dorn
2161; Alaska; androgyny; annular confinement beam; buffer field generator; civic chamber; cloak; Cochrane (unit); dexalin; dizziness; Earth; electromagnetic energy; exobotany; falla bush; Federation; Federation Day; gender; genitals; gravitational field; graviton polarity source generator; head of government; J'naii; J'naii (planet); Magellan; magnetic field; maneuvering thruster; mating; megajoule; menellen tree; microfusion thruster; navigational deflector; neutrino emission; null space; Phelan system; plestorene; poker; political asylum; Prime Directive; psychotectic therapy; Riker, Kyle; sanctions; sexuality; sexual reproduction; snail; snips; spice; split pea soup; sugar; Taris Murn; Troi, Ian; Troi, Lwaxana; type 4 phaser; type 6 shuttlecraft; type 15 shuttlepod; warning buoy; "What Are Little Boys Made Of?"
| Previous episode:|
| Star Trek: The Next Generation|
| Next episode:|
"Cause and Effect"