Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: May 16, 1988
Written by: Maurice Hurley, Deborah McIntyre & Mona Clee
Directed by: James L. Conway
In the middle of checking out the Romulan Neutral Zone, Picard has to deal with some dbags from the 20th century.
While Picard is busy on a Starbase, having been summoned to discuss a mission to the Neutral Zone, Riker and the crew have been monitoring a capsule that seems to have been from Earth a looooooong time ago. Riker is about to just let it go, discounting it as space trash, but Data insists on studying it as an intriguing piece of history. So, since they have nothing better to do while waiting for Picard, Data beams over with Worf and they discover some dead and frozen human bodies.
When Picard calls and says he's on his way back, Riker calls Data back, but Data says it's probably a good idea to bring the frozen bodies back. So they're transported to sickbay, Picard comes to the bridge and orders a course plotting to the Neural Zone. Now, apparently some Federation outposts have disappeared, and it's now Picard's job to go find out why. Of course, the suspicion is that it's the work of the Romulans.
|The Council to Decide if the Neutral Zone Attacks were Romulan|
Well, after Riker tries to introduce them to the idea that they're in the future, Ralph tries to call Picard on the intercom. He really wants to get back to Earth and, in the midst of his complaints, he compares the Enterprise to a cruise ship. Picard goes down to where the three are staying and reprimands Ralph while telling him that humans of the future no longer want for material gain. Ralph apologizes because he's used to knowing what's going on and now he has no idea. Meanwhile, Sonny tries some replicated alcohol, tries to get some drugs from Crusher and tries to set up a party with Data (to whom he has quickly taken). And Clare cries about her entire family being long gone while Troi introduces her to the computer system that shows her where her descendants have gone.
|And then Data replicates a guitar for Sonny.|
Well, since they're Romulans, this is a good theory. So Picard discusses the terms of a cooperation in order for both governments to figure out what's going on. And then Ralph is finally taken of the bridge. In the meantime, Troi has found where Clare's descendants are and came up with a plan to return all three of the 20th century humans to Earth on the USS Charleston which is at a nearby starbase. Riker says it's a pity they can't bring them home personally because for some reason he's enjoyed meeting people from the 20th century. But Picard's like "Screw that! We have exploring to do!"
|"Screw that! We have exploring to do!"|
This is the final episode of season one of The Next Generation and it serves well as an introduction to some of the themes of Star Trek through the eyes of 20th century humanity, the kind of humanity that originally saw the episode on the air date. It neatly wraps up the overall themes of Star Trek while introducing the new Romulan threat and explaining everything clearly. To me, it totally works as a season closer, but, in reality, there's nothing that really gets resolved. I guess Ralph settles down a bit by the end, but what's really interesting is the mystery of the disappearing stations and the fact that, after 50 years, the Romulans are back.