Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991) – Disaster, and The Game

Captain’s log: stardate 45156.1

Airing on 21 October, 1991, Ronald D. Moore penned the teleplay for this episode from a story created by Ron Jarvis and Philip A. Scorza.

Disaster plays much like an Irwin Allen version of a Star Trek episode. Attempting to push characters outside of their comfort zones, or put them in usual situations, the episode gets underway when the Enterprise becomes entangled in a quantum filament.

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is giving the elementary school science fair winners a tour of the ship and they find themselves stuck in a turbolift, and the captain is injured. Worf (Michael Dorn) must aid Keiko O’Brien (Rosalind Chao) give birth. Geordi (LeVar Burton) and Crusher (Gates McFadden) have to deal with a plasma fire that is giving off enough radiation to trigger an explosion from some of the cargo the starship is carrying. Troi (Marina Sirtis) is in command on the bridge with O’Brien (Colm Meaney) and Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), while Data (Brent Spiner) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) are trapped behind an electrical field, as they seek a way to Engineering from Ten Forward.

All the characters are given a moment, or two, to shine, but it is Picard and Troi that benefit the most from this episode as they are put in situations they wouldn’t usually find themselves in and we see the characters grow as a consequence.

The story comes to a happy conclusion, and the Enterprise continues on its way. As it does, we are provided with some nice continuity as the episode establishes a bit more of shipboard life, and Miles gets some more stuff to continue to fill out his character.

disaster

Captain’s log: stardate 45208.2

Airing on 28 October, 1991, The Game, written by Brannon Braga from a story by himself, Susan Sackett, and Fred Bronson saw Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) returning to the Enterprise while on leave from Starfleet Academy.

Things seem to be going well for him, especially after he meets the lovely Robin Lefler (Ashley Judd). Unfortunately, things aren’t going to go smoothly for the young couple. It seems there is a new game that has been brought aboard the ship.

The game is addictive, and through neural interaction stimulates the pleasure centres. It spreads through the crew like wildfire, and once addicted, the crew is behaving differently, under control, and that leaves the ship (and the Federation?) open to seizure.

It’s up to Crusher and Lefler to save the day, and maybe get a little romance in along the way.

One of the things that I really like about the episode is that thanks to the thin plot, we get a lot of character moments, and a look at life on the Enterprise. And perhaps there is the moral of too many video games are bad for your health.

Actually, it could be argued that, in today’s day and age, it’s an argument against being too caught up in social media and smart devices.

The only downside to this episode is that is the second and final appearance of Lefler. She’s a lot of fun.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday with an epic two-parter…

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