Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 25


Aired Unknown May 09, 1988 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
258 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Stardate: 41775.5 Picard suspects a large-scale conspiracy when he witnesses strange behavior among Starfleet's high ranking officers.

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  • Suspecting that a conspiracy may be afoot in the highest levels of Starfleet Command, Picard orders Enterprise to return to Earth to investigate.

    The writers of "Conspiracy" obviously saw the 1953 science fiction film "Invaders from Mars". I saw a few echoes of that film in this episode. That does not mean the episode is bad. I have watched this episode many times over the years and have enjoyed it intensely every time. The episode has the right blend of action and drama. The scenes of Data performing the task assigned to him by Picard and presenting his findings is very well done. The story works its way to a good climax as well. As graphic as they are, the scenes of the creature inside Remmick's body are a sight to see! The episode's final scene is in my mind probably the best ending scenes of any episode of the entire series. This "Conspiracy" theory is worth listening to!moreless
  • What were they thinking?

    I can't help but wonder what they were thinking when they made this episode. It's like they got drunk and made this whole episode before they sobered up. Or hired Roger Corman. When it aired, this episode came with a warning that it contained graphic images. It's like this was a peek at what Star Trek would have been like if it was made as a B-horror movie in the 1950s.

    I'm so glad that they never continued on the cliffhanger they left at the end of the episode.

    In my opinion, this episode ranks with Shades of Grey as one of the dumbest episodes ever.moreless
  • Superb plot, should have been the season finale!

    Just when you thought the threat to the Federation couldnt get any worse.... yet I will always wonder what happened to the signal sent to the parasites homeworld.

    A very good start promotes a great deal of suspicion as Picard rendevous with the other top starfleet capts. You will immediately get a feeling that something immense is threatening the status quo of the ST universe.

    The plot moves gingerly along in a sequence of well thought scenes that do an excellent job of showing Picard enters the vipers nest holding nothing but his er nads....

    The intensity level spikes though when we learn that Adm Quinn is one of the infected. Brilliant scene as he takes Ryker and Worf apart! It only gets better from here as Picard is served a feast of worms, pointing to the fact that all those present have been turned!

    The bluff by Ryker is probably his best moment of the first series. Makes a change from all those wide-eyes smirks of feigned surprise! The final battle is what you can expect from the first series effect dept - poor. But the cornering of Cmd Remmick who is the host for the brain parasite is probably the best scene in the whole series. This would have made the perfect series finale!

    Do not miss it!moreless
  • The Enterprise returns to Earth, where a conspiracy seems to be threatening Starfleet.

    Star Trek pays homage to horror films here (especially Invasion of the Body Snatchers), and the result is pretty good, even if the Harryhausen-ish effects are a little embarrassing. (Actually, in a lot of ways, this episode is sort of a precursor to the X Files, playing up the paranoia. You'd think Chris Carter wrote this one!) The script is good, and guest stars Ward Costello and Robert Schenkkan return after being part of the B story for "Coming of Age"; they're once again fantastic. This episode, especially with its ending, would have been an especially good note to end the season on.moreless
  • Well written, well plotted, well acted, and for the time the effects were not bad. If only more of season 1 were like this one, and I wish this one was properly followed up, unlike other TNG episodes that were revisited.moreless

    Covert alien invasion, paranoia, what constitutes a conspiracy theory and what doesn't, and bluffing. And somehow this episode doesn't get a follow-up, while at least 3 subsequent TNG stories remind us Data is an anatomically correct android and/or did it with Tasha Yar (rollseyes).

    Even with multiple viewings, this one still holds up fairly well thanks to a taut storyline and top notch acting.

    So here's the story: Starfleet is being invaded, and some commanding officers are acting a little strange. What makes this story work is the number of plot twists, which more than easily outdo any of the clichés put into it (I won't mention spoilers). Given drama has only so many plots, it's how well something is written and acted that can make up for even the most banal scribble. While other TNG season 1 episodes fall down flat due to not having a focus or even any expectations, this one by far goes the extra mile. Of course, I can't give it a 10/10. Why? Because the stupid joke in the pre-credits teaser, where Geordi tells a joke to Data, who seems unable to comprehend why so many males would find it difficult to (yes, that) in zero-g hyperspace... did we have to be reminded this was season 1? (See the travesties known as "Justice" and/or "The Naked Now" for more, if you dare...)moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Henry Darrow

Henry Darrow

Admiral Savar

Guest Star

Ward Costello

Ward Costello

Admiral Quinn

Guest Star

Jonathan Farwell

Jonathan Farwell

Capt. Walker Keel

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (16)

    • When Commander Remmick transports Quinn to the Enterprise, there is a clear shot of his neck - with no "spike" on it. However, it turns out that Remmick was the host of one of the parasites, so he should have had one.

    • When the Enterprise alters course to investigate the debris field, it is shown that while Geordi is at the helm, the Ops console is unmanned, while Data is presumably doing the research Captain Picard had requested. This is itself is a goof, as it is shown in many episodes that whenever an officer has to leave such a post, another officer always replaces them. In a further goof, in the next shot from a similar camera angle, Data's hand is seen, implying that he is, in fact working at the Ops console.

    • Worf suggests that the debris that they discover might have come from one of the ships that had been orbiting Ditalix-B, and Geordi adds that that's possible because they're "close to that planet". However, it is difficult to understand what Geordi is trying to add to the discussion, considering that the Enterprise had just left Ditalix, and were quite obviously near that planet.

    • When the Captain arrives for dinner, and they have tea while waiting for the dinner to be prepared, there are only three glasses on the table. As they expected Riker to be there as well, there should have been four.

    • Trivia: Captain Walker Keel is the only person during the entire series to actually pronounce 'Jean-Luc' with a proper French accent; specifically 'Luc' which cannot be easily pronounced by those whose main language is English. Not even Patrick Stewart himself can say it properly.

    • When Admiral Quinn is fighting Worf, Worf gets thrown across a table. Worf's feet collide with the replicator and it noticeably shifts.

    • During the fight between the parasite-possessed Quinn and Commander Riker, it's fairly obvious that it's a stunt double wearing (highly unconvincing) old man make-up that is doing most of the fighting.

    • Admiral Aaron is equipped with the ultra slow phaser. While everyone else's phaser hits its target almost instantly, Aaron's phaser takes a full two seconds between being fired and striking the wall behind Riker and Picard. This gives them just enough time to dodge.

    • When Riker ambushes the Admirals at the dinner, Savar attempts to use a Vulcan neck pinch on him. He must have done something wrong, because he is pinching Riker for about three seconds before he stops and Riker is fine.

    • Why do Riker and Picard, having merely incapacitated the other parasite-infested hosts, feel it necessary to shoot Remmick until his head explodes?

    • When Quinn punches Riker there's no prong sticking out of his neck, even though Crusher says later that anyone infected will have a prong sticking out.

    • Remmick is wearing three solid pips (commander) at the beginning of the episode. At the end when Picard and Riker confront him, he's only wearing two and a half (lt. commander).

    • When the admiral fires a phaser at the pursuing Picard and Riker, he misses and hits a painting and sparks fly. But in the next shot the painting is undamaged.

    • Admiral Quinn displays superhuman abilities that overstimulated adrenaline glands can't account for (such as Riker punching him hard enough to break his jaw). Overstimulating a (relatively) old man's adrenaline glands would most likely give him a coronary.

    • In the beginning of this episode, Riker orders Geordi (who was navigator at the time) to increase to Warp 6. In response, Geordi replies, "Aye sir, Full Impulse."

    • At the end of the top secret meeting, Walker, who is paranoid about everyone in Star Fleet, and who specifically tells Picard that as far as all their Star Fleet colleagues are concerned the meeting "never took place," then immediately asks Picard to, "tell Beverly that I said hello"!

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Troi: Data, have you ever been for a real moonlight swim?
      Data: One can swim in moonlight?
      Troi: How about you, Mr. Worf?
      Worf: Swimming is too much like... bathing.

    • Riker: Why the devil would we be going there? Are there any miners or indigenous life forms on the planet?
      Data: I believe the answer is negative to both questions, sir. In a manner of speaking, it is nothing but a lifeless hunk of rock, a useless ball of mud, a worthless chunk of...
      Riker: Thank you, Data. I get the idea.

    • Worf: Are you all right?
      Geordi: Ugh. If I could see, I'd be seeing stars!

    • Data: (thinking out loud) Startling. Quite extraordinary, in fact!
      Computer: Direction unclear. Please repeat request.
      Data: That was not a request. I was simply... (with a surprised look)...talking to myself. A human idiosyncrasy, triggered by a fascination with a particular set of facts, or sometimes brought about by senility or used as a means of weighing information before reaching a conclusion, or as a...
      Computer: (interrupting) Thank you, sir, I comprehend.

  • NOTES (12)

    • The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup for a Series.

    • Admiral Quinn's case containing the alien creature is a modified Nintendo Power three-ring binder.

    • The topographical map of the planetary surface has a very crude drawing of the Japanese manga characters, Kei and Yuri, from Dirty Pair, also known as Lovely Angels in Japan. Kei is upside down, and Yuri is on the right side.

    • In the scene where Riker enters the room with the Starfleet officers who have been taken over, Jonathan Frakes's bowl was the only one filled with real worms. During one take, when he lifts some worms over his mouth to pretend he was one of them, a worm accidentally fell and landed in his mouth. He ate the worm and continued the scene, but they didn't use that cut in the final version.

    • Michael Berryman (Captain Rixx) loved the Bolian make-up so much that he actually wore it home after filming was completed for the day.

    • All of the FX shots of Earth and the spacedock are from the Trek movies.

    • This plot is somewhat continued in the Deep Space Nine books which occur after Season 7 of that series and which many fans consider to be Season 8 of DS9. These parasites are hinted at in the Mission Gamma 4 part set, Rising Son, then heavily featured in Unity, which also explains a connection to the Trill, and where the Jem'Hadar that disappeared in the DS9 episode "Sacrifice of Angels" went.

    • The first time this episode aired there was no graphic content warning. However, people were so upset by some of the images, they put a warning of graphic content at the beginning of the episode for subsequent regular and syndicated airings. It was the only time this was ever done for an episode of any Star Trek series. The public's reaction to the worm villains in this episode was so negative, Roddenberry said they would never be used again.

    • First appearance of the Bolian species in the form of USS Thomas Payne commander Captain Rixx. The blue-skinned species was named for director Cliff Bole and would become a recurring species throughout TNG, DS9, and VOY.

    • This really creepy episode was intended to be one of the lead-ins for the introduction of the Borg, a new race developed when the Ferengi failed to deliver the threat the creators had intended. The message sent at the end was intended to have been sent to Borg space, though no future episode specifies where that message goes.

    • The conspiracy is hinted at in the earlier episode "Coming of Age," which also featured Admiral Quinn and Lt. Remmick, and where it is suggested that something bad is going on in Starfleet, which is the reason for their inspection on the ship and crew.

    • Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) does not appear in this episode.