Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 7 Episode 23


Aired Unknown May 09, 1994 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
171 votes

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Episode Summary

Stardate: 47869.2 The Enterprise's computer systems starts having repeated malfunctions, leading the crew to believe that it may be evolving into a new life form.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • I hadn't watched this episode in a long time... now I remember why

    This episode starts with a far-fetched idea and goes downhill from there. The Enterprise suddenly decides to reproduce. Data's explanation of an emergent property from a complex system is somewhat convincing, and the rest of the story should be dedicated to making it more believable. Instead, it devolves into a muddled mishmash of holodeck characters with poorly developed motivations and a catalog of ship malfunctions.

    And when the ship does finish creating its offspring, that offspring is completely alien in form, function, and behavior. Then the ship returns to its normal state for no apparent reason. It would be like a bear who suddenly becomes intelligent, builds an android, and then goes back to being a bear again.

    Obviously this episode was rushed. The storyline was never properly fleshed out, and the explanations for this incredible occurrence are paper-thin at best.moreless
  • The best episode about a brick.

    There's something charming about this abstract mystery episode. It ingeniously uses the holodeck as a metaphor to tell its story about an emerging intelligence, allowing several guest stars to play metaphorical aspects of the ship. (The best of these is David Huddleston, who shines as the train conductor.) In addition, the episode is a true ensemble piece, allowing each main cast member to contribute to the story. And while it's a bit sad that the profound idea of the ship becoming sentient is used almost as a throwaway idea that's simply there to propel us into the train adventure, maybe many years from now there will be a new Star Trek series that takes place on the sentient offspring of the Enterprise, turning this episode from an enigma into an astoundingly visionary setup. For now it's just a weird one; but in a good way.moreless
  • Pretty silly, but entertaining nonetheless.

    All bad things come to an end, and "Emergence" ends a streak of relatively weak episodes that dominated the latter half of TNG's final season. Within that streak, it probably does better than most; a silly, nonsensical story is improved by some amusing touches.

    The oddball characters on the train (especially David Huddleston's conductor) offer plenty of chuckles, as does Data stopping a car with his hand.

    Unfortunately, the moments off the train are far weaker - a bizarre story (the Enterprise developing a consciousness?) that incorporates a technobabble sci-fi solution.

    But hey, at least it's better than "Bloodlines" and "Journey's End".moreless
  • Mechanical malfunctions start occurring during a holodeck simulation. A train comes out from nowhere and almost cause harm to Picard and Data. Data is left wondering why it is there. Data decides to shutdown all holodecks.moreless

    Mechanical malfunctions start occurring during a holodeck simulation. A train comes out from nowhere and almost cause harm to Picard and Data. Data is left wondering why it is there. Data decides to shutdown all holodecks. While on the bridge the “Enterprise” suddenly jumps to Warp 9. Picard is furious and wonders who order the speed change. The ship is not responding to helm or ops. Geordi and Data inspect the Jefferies tubes and find that the ship has created new connections. Could it be a collective intelligence forming? Tune in watch this exciting episode. I rate it a 9.3moreless
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

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • In "Keystone City" when the brick wall falls to reveal a glass door, a man can be seen through the door.

    • In the opening scene when Data is portraying a character from Shakespeare's play The Tempest, a small card can be seen attached to the back of the book he is carrying (likely containing his lines), but after increasing the amount of torchlight the card is no longer there.

    • During the The Tempest sequence, Picard says the light increase is satisfactory after Data orders the lights to increase, but before they actually respond.

    • Even though Starfleet and Geordi know about a "theta flux distortion" and that it can destroy starships, they haven't bothered to design sensors to detect it (Geordi says they "haven't designed sensors", not that the flux can't be detected).

    • Even though they know that the safety protocols are disengaged, no one wears any protective gear going into the holodeck.

    • Worf asks a hologram couple if they've finished their jigsaw puzzle, even though he can clearly see there are several big gaps in it. Doesn't he know how a jigsaw puzzle works?

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Data: Complex systems can sometimes behave in ways that are entirely unpredictable. The human brain for example, might be described in terms of cellular functions and neurochemical interactions, but that description does not explain human consciousness, a capacity that far exceeds simple neural functions. Consciousness is an 'emergent' property.
      La Forge: In other words, something that's more than the sum of its parts.

  • NOTES (0)