Episode Reviews (19)
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All things considered, this should be worse....
.... The idea behind TNG season two finale "Shades of Gray" is that Riker contracts some kind of alien infection that must be combated with survival memories - but it's really just a clip show, featuring various different scenes from TNG's worst two seasons standing in for Riker's "memories." "Shades of Gray" has a reputation for being a terrible episode and rightfully so - but it is also widely considered the worst TNG episode of all-time. I do not go quite this far. "Shades of Gray" is undoubtedly a terrible episode; a lazy, corner-cutting effort born out of the writer's strike made simply to finish off the season. However, while certainly dull and pointless, "Shades of Gray" is not quite as irritating or insulting as such true TNG bottom-dwelling episodes as "Code of Honor," "Haven" or "The Outrageous Okona." Since "Shades of Gray" is simply dull rather than unbearable, I'll put it ahead of a few others in the TNG series.moreless
In the words of the Comic Book Guy, "WORST EPISODE EVER!!"
In my mind, this was the worst episode of Star Trek: TNG.
Riker gets attacked by a plant. While in a coma, good/bad emotions make him better/worse (not sure which was which, and I really don't Clips from previous episodes are shown. I have recently become aware that there was a writer's strike, which prematurely cut the season to 22 episodes. I find it difficult to believe that this episode was written prior to the strike. Clip shows are not up to Star Trek's standards. It is more probable that they wanted to get one more episode released, so they threw together this clip show which required minimal effort on everybody's part. So, I rated this show a 2.0: Horrible when compared to other episodes, but better than having nothing.moreless
and to the guy that gave this a perfect 10 because its so bad, you are a complete idiot. I hope you don't have a leadership position anywhere. You would reward people that do horrible at their work. You make it more difficult to have the good shows stand out when you give the bad ones a score like that.
What is the connection between the title "Shades Of Gray", and the actual (ahem) "plot"???
How exactly did the term "Shades Of Gray" apply here?
That term usually applies to discussions about how most things are neither all GOOD or BAD, but some shade of gray, in between...???
In that context... where's the connection to that term... and this show?
Or was the "Gray" referring to the "gray matter" of Riker's brain???
All so confusing, lol
Why did I give this episode a perfect score? Because it's the most fun I've had watching a Trek episode in years. Don't misunderstand, this is truly an atrocious way to spend 45 minutes. On the other hand, it's also extremely funny if you can MST3K the hell out of it for the duration. There's no setup at all, just Riker sitting there all gimped out after having been stabbed in the leg by a vine. Dr. Pulaski discovers that the microbes invading Riker's body are slowed down by feeding his mind negative memories, and proceeds to spend the remaining two thirds of the episode "tightening the beam" of negativity. Each time she does this, the growth is slowed even more, and she pauses to debate what to do next with counselor Troi. They decide in their wisdom to tighten the beam even more, which (shocker!) slows the growth rate of the microbes yet again. She then pauses to say something along the lines of "I don't know how much longer he can withstand this", and then tightens the beam even more, which helps yet again - apparently even taking the time to record a log entry right in the middle of the procedure. It's complete filler and shows off her complete ineptitude as a doctor just before she departs the show. Troi's over-acting is classic, with lines like "hang on, Will...hang on!" just begging for laughter. In the end, they tighten the beam so much that it stops the growth - at which point, apparently the microbes just vanish without a trace, because they never actually succeed in *reversing* the process at all. Seriously, watch this and take a shot every time the doctor and Troi decide to "refocus and tighten the beam even more" and you'll be plastered by the time the credits roll. Just classic Trek in every way.moreless
Riker is disabled by a deadly virus and is put into stasis, forced to relive his old memories.
Hands down, the worst Star Trek episode of all time. (It, was conceived during a writer's strike and shot in three days with hardly any money) It's bad enough that it's the only clip show in the history of the franchise, (happening at the worst time it could: all the clips are, of course from TNG's two worst seasons.) What's worse is that the "story" in this episode necessitates that the clips get quicker and darker as the episode approaches its climax. So as the episode nears its resolution, we end up watching all the suffering that has happened on the Enterprise D during the first two seasons of the show. Thankfully, after this bump in the road, the TNG would flourish.moreless
The main storyline Commander Riker gets a nasty thorn that injures him. It then poisons him with nerotoxins that attack the nervous system. Riker almost faces death on this one, but Dr pulaski saves him by inducing survival memories. I as a Star Trek fan
The main storyline Commander Riker gets a nasty thorn that injures him. It then poisons him with nerotoxins that attack the nervous system. Riker almost faces death on this one, but Dr Pulaski saves him by inducing survival memories. This is Dr Pulsaki's last season. Good news Doctor Crusher will return next season. This episode is not a good season ending episode. I as a Star Trek fan thinks this one is at the bottom of the barrel. I rate this one a 2.0. *The whole second season started late due to a writer's strike. Resulting in a short season.moreless
On an away mission, Riker is infected by deadly microbes whose only goal is to induce a clip-show.
I know that they were suffering from a writer's strike, but this is a truly pitiful episode. Despite all the surgery, it felt like nothing really happened in the entire episode! Sure, Riker was in mortal danger, but there are better ways to go about dealing with such mortal danger than a clip-show of all things. I would much rather they had ended the season in an entirely different fashion. At the very least, they could have afforded Pulaski an exit, though the same could be said for the 3rd season episode "Evolution" which seems to almost shun the doctor by not even subtantially mentioning her name!
This is a poor episode for Pulaski to leave. "Peak Performance" would have at least allowed her personality to shine through. I did however like some of the dialogue between Riker and the crew as he lay on his sickbay bed both before and after the procedure. We are also afforded the opportunity to see perhaps the first true surgery in TNG. But that was not enough to grant this episode a free pass.
It was the only true clipshow in Trek history and I'm afraid I simply don't have many good words for this episode as it is easily one of the worst episodes among all of Star Trek. Almost anyone could have cobbled this together and as such it doesn't get my vote of confidence. I would have rated it a zero, but the interface wasn't accepting it, so I chose the next worse rating.moreless
When Riker is infected with a microbe, the only way to save him is to induce memories. Good memories worsen the symptoms. Only violent memories eradicate the microbe. Counselor Troi stays by his side during the ordeal and reinforces her passion for him
Writer's strike or not, this episode should have been shelved. It was pathetic. Flashbacks are a writer's last resort when the muse fails. Deanna Troi's constant vigil at Riker's bedside was annoying, given the writers' years' long tease about their relationship. The only good part was that it was Dr. Pulaski's last episode. She was a poor substitute for Beverly Crusher. Pulaski was arrogant, called Data "It", made fun of him in his Sherlock Holmes hologram programs, used him for her own ego to challenge an opponent to a game even Data could not win. The only redeeming quality was Riker answering that of course he knew who he was: Captain Picard, and Data deadpanning the line he did not think Picard could promote him to admiral when Picard said he and Admiral Data were glad to hear it.moreless
Riker is injured by a vine, and he brings us down into a clip show with him.
It is appropriate that I write this article when we seem to be mired in a Hollywood writer's strike that has put many of the day's shows on hiatus, in limbo, or just simply forgotten. We are also likely to be subjected to a plethora of uninspired reality shows, so I thought we could find at least a small bit of comfort that this time around there is no new Trek on TV to suffer the pangs of this strike.
The year was 1989. Just one year prior to this, a six-month writer's strike interfered with the last few episodes of the first season and caused Season 2 to be shortened from 26 episodes to 22. Scripts from the previous attempt to resurrect the franchise on television were scavenged to help save the season, and in what will no doubt be considered the weakest season finale episode in Trek, if not television, history, "Shades of Grey" was hastily slapped together with little more thought than a toddler has to eating an Arrowroot cookie. Writer Maurice Hurley, who was on his way out from the series, admitted that the story was "terrible, just terrible", and I cannot think of a single person involved in it who was the least bit positive about the show. It took a record three days to film, and I think that the only thing that many fans would find as a point in favour of the show was that it was the final appearance of Dr. Pulaski.
So here is the story line in a nutshell. Riker is leading an away team on the planet of the day where he is injured by a thorn. That's right, a thorn takes down the indomitable William T. Riker. He is beamed back to the Enterprise, where he quickly slips into a coma. It is learned that the bacteria on the thorn are attacking his nervous system, and they are directly affected by the emotions that he is feeling. Warm-fuzzy feelings of love and romance cause the microbes to grow, while dark feelings of anger, sorrow, and violence cause the microbes to regress.
It's this whole emotion thing that leads us into the clip show portion that was used to pad out the show. We see scenes from the past two seasons that are significant to Commander Riker, including the deaths of Tasha Yar and Troi's son, being assaulted by Klingons and alien-possessed admirals, and every women over the last two years he had a fling with. Ultimately, the therapy works, and Riker is saved.
While clip shows are often used in some shows, I felt that this one was simply a cheap short cut. I think several people will agree that this was almost an episode not worth making. Yet despite all of that, it does serve a purpose today: it reminds us that Writer's Strikes are no good for television, and this strike needs to be resolved quickly!moreless