Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) – The Last Outpost, and Where No One Has Gone Before

Captain’s log: stardate 41386.4

The introduction of the Ferengi.

Well that could have gone better. The script was penned by Herbert Wright from a story by Richard Krezmien and the episode first aired on 19 October, 1987.

The Enterprsie is in pursuit of a Ferengi Marauder accused of theft, when both ships find themselves losing power in orbit of a long dead planet. While the two forces point fingers at each other, and Data (Brent Spiner) gets caught up in a Chinese finger puzzle, they ignore the planet beneath them, which may be the source of their problems.

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) learns that the planet was part of the Tkon Empire and that the Enterprise and the Ferengi ship are being held in some sort of field. He sends down Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Geordi (LeVar Burton), Data, Yar (Denise Crosby) and Worf (Michael Dorn) to investigate.

Unfortunately, the Ferengi send their own detachment down (including Armin Shimerman) and they encounter a safety program, Portal (Darryl Henriques), still running and demanding answers of them before they can be released, or destroyed.

We do get to see Geordi in Engineering for the first time in this episode, though he won’t be assigned there until Season 2.  And we get to see the only appearance of the Ferengi whip in Next Generation.

Overall this one feels like a missed opportunity too, and honestly, thank goodness it was a different time, because I’m not sure The Next Generation would have survived the birthing pains of it’s first season in today’s television environment.

lastoutpost

Captain’s log: stardate 41263.1

Where No One Has Gone Before is a stronger episode, and definitely the strongest of the episodes that have been reviewed to date.

Michael Reaves and Diane Duane write the script that is adapted from Duane’s Star Trek Original Series novel The Wounded Sky. Airing on 26 October, 1987, we get yet another Chief Engineer, Argyle (Biff Yeager), as the Enterprise beams aboard a would-be engineer, Kosinski (Stanley Kamel) who thinks he’s been able to enhance ship’s warp drives to enable further and quicker travel.

Unfortunately for this arrogant man, it is his assistant, known only as the Traveler (Eric Menyuk) who is really causing the changes. When both men are distracted during a trial run on the Enterprise, the ship is flung galaxies away.

As the Enterprise tries to find a way home (a premise later explored in Star Trek: Voyager), the crew discover in this realm of the universe that space-time and thought, are entirely separate.

Working with the Traveler, Picard attempts to return the ship to our galaxy…

Wesley (Wil Wheaton) forms a fast friendship with the Traveler, which will show up again later in the series. It also sees Picard promoting the young teenager to acting ensign, which means we’ll be seeing him on the bridge more often.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday!

M33

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