Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: March 26, 1990
Written by: Richard Manning & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe
Picard tries to lead his way out of a paper bag.
It starts off as a normal day with Picard in his quarters reading a book while General Zod's Phantom Zone hovers over him and beams him away. With an energy discharge sensed in his quarters, Riker sense Worf and a security crew to check it out, but a different Picard comes out of his quarters and assures them that everything is okay. So while this doppelganger is hanging around on his ship, the real Picard wakes up in a room with two other people: Mitena Haro, and Kova Tholl. Haro is a Bolian Starfleet Cadet and Tholl is a cowardly Mizarian. The most important thing they introduce to Captain Picard is food... in the form of a pink hockey puck.
On the ship, the fake Picard changes everyone's orders and puts them on course to visit a pulsar, for some reason, at warp 2 so it'll take forever to get there. He's acting really weird and everyone notices, but Picard confides in Riker that he may be giving strange orders, but to follow them anyway and trust him. Meanwhile, the real Picard works with Tholl and Haro to get out of the room they're in. Tholl warns him that the door is set to "punish" anyone who tries to open it. He's from a race of people who believe in peaceful non-resistance, so he'll go with the flow. And Haro is trained to follow Picard's orders.
|SUDDENLY A MONSTER|
In the holding cell, Picard, Esoqq, and Haro try to hack their way past the door and they are promptly punished just as Tholl warned. It doesn't take long for the four of them to start accusing everyone else of being party with their captors. And on the Enterprise, the crew are starting to worry whether their Picard is actually their Picard. Crusher mentions the romantic, yet strange date she had with him, and then he comes into 10-Forward and starts singing with the crew, celebrating that the engines are up to 97% efficiency. Well,that's about enough to prove to Riker that this is an imposter and he will mutiny as soon as he can prove it.
|"My bear senses are tingling."|
Picard demands that the aliens return everyone to where they were, so, since they can no longer run the experiment, they do. Back on the bridge, the real Picard meets the fake Picard and the alien with him turns to the fake Picard and tells him the jig is up. Fake Picard transforms into an alien and the two aliens explain where they came from. During their speech, the bridge crew exchange glances and end up trapping the two aliens in a force field.
This was a typical Star Trek episode that explores a certain aspect of humanity. In this case it was leadership, and Picard seems to have passed with flying colors. I liked the message of the episode, but it lost me when the aliens were revealed. Terrible character design, in my opinion. This isn't an essential episode, but it certainly does say a lot for Picard's abilities, and I can appreciate that.