Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: May 9, 1988
Written by: Tracy Tormé and Robert Sabaroff
Directed by: Cliff Bole
A conspiracy in the highest ranks of Starfleet brings the Enterprise back home to Earth in an attempt to get to the gut of the situation.
So, remember when Admiral Quinn made Commander Remmick interview people on the Enterprise to see if something was wrong and everyone got really annoyed and Quinn eventually admitted to Picard that he thought there was a conspiracy? Well... there was. So, when Captain Walker Keel calls Picard using a Code 47 emergency to meet him on a distant planet, something rings familiar about the tone. Picard meets him and a couple other captains inside a cave and discusses some weird goings-on, strange orders, deleted records, etc. Picard thinks it's all a bunch of hogwash, though. He only entertained the meeting because Walker is a good friend and he generally trusts him. But once Picard starts to leave and discovers that Walker's ship has been destroyed... he's inclined to believe what Walker had to say.
Picard immediately sets Data to the task of looking for inconsistencies in Starfleet records, and this Data does quite well. He, Picard and Riker come to the conclusion that the best way to get to the bottom of this conspiracy is to head back to Earth, which is something a Galaxy-class starship rarely does. When they get there, they're greeted by a council of three admirals, including Admiral Quinn. And while they're talking, Commander Remmick shows up and whispers into someone's ear. After that, they invite Picard and Riker down for a meal and Admiral Quinn says that, while he can't make the meal, he'd like to see the Enterprise again. Which Picard takes as Quinn wanting to meet with them alone.
|Everyone trusts Grampa Starfleet.|
Meanwhile, down in San Fransisco, Picard notices how empty the halls are in Starfleet Command. He talks for a while with Remmick and the other Admirals and they eventually invite him in to dinner, but he says he has to catch up with Riker first. When he calls Riker, Crusher answers and tells him everything that went on. How Quinn went crazy and is apparently infected with a parasite. So, now Picard knows something evil is afoot, and he goes to partake in the meal. Which happen to be grubs. And since Picard is not a meerkat, he is disgusted.
|"Ah, you're a parasite! That's great! So are we!"|
Riker and Picard follow the parasite to find Commander Remmick in the room in front of a galaxy map. The parasite skitters up Remmick's leg, then his arm, and into his mouth. Remmick swallows the parasite and it kind of wriggles around in his neck. Remmick makes some grand speech about how the parasites just want to help humans out and give them peace, but Picard and Riker are having none of that. They fire both their phasers at Remmick and his head explodes like a watermelon at a Gallagher act. But that's not all, his torso melts away to reveal this:
|"Hello my honey, hello my darlin', hello my ragtime gal!"|
This is the first time we see a story that begins in one episode and continues to another that's not side-by-side. The first story arc, if you will. We've seen two episodes tied together by Q, but that's held together by a character, whereas this was held together by a story. You can tell that in the first season of The Next Generation the writers are experimenting with new ways of writing for TV. Ways to bring TV into a new century. And this is the kind of writing that is going to carry this show into seven seasons as opposed to The Original Series' three. Unfortunately, while this writing style may be propelled forward, the story itself is not. This is the last we see of these parasite aliens which, in a way, is kind of a shame... but it's an idea that will be explored by Stargate SG-1, so... yay!