Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 16

Ethics

4
Aired Unknown Mar 02, 1992 on CBS
7.2
out of 10
User Rating
179 votes
6

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Stardate: 45587.3 When Worf is paralysed in an accident he must undergo drastic back surgery. However, this experimental technique may cost him his life.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • McFadden will not be denied!

    7.0
    Scriptwise, this medical drama is weak, being overly preachy and concluding with a terrible, dues ex machina ending. However, Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher), unwilling to let a Crusher episode go to waste, elevates the writing with an amazing performance. Michael Dorn (Worf) and guest star Caroline Kava (Dr. Russell) assist McFadden with excellent performances of their own, making the episode interesting and watchable.
  • Season 5 shifts the series to one-sided preaching, but this one takes the cake. Especially with a willing patient.

    1.6
    Where do I begin to describe this dross? The "argument of the week" revolves around assisted suicide, living handicapped, and going gun-ho medical research. Okay, some of the ideas have merit, not forgetting "Unnatural Selection" delved into research, albeit on a different tangent.



    The guest star of the week seizes an opportunity to go beyond simulated operations when Word is paralyzed in an accident. Worf's culture has Worf wanting death rather than perceived dishonor, his friends say "No, because my culture forbids euthanasia", and here comes the galloping guest doctor with a possible cure. Worf wants to try it, Crusher says "No, we need more time".



    Eventually, Worf and guest star have their way and he is operated on. The operation fails, but because Klingons have multiple redundant organs, his life is saved by his own anatomy -- a redundant brain and neural functions are what saves him. Of course, who didn't see that one coming because it's so outrageously stupid an idea to begin with!



    Crusher whines in the end that "real research takes time". Something everybody already knows. After all, simulations can only go so far. Real life can do what no amount of pretending can. Far more important, people have volunteered for risky or trial procedures before; either for their own hope of recovery, and/or for hope that what they do can benefit others. This is the final proof why the episode is nothing more than one-sided preachy fodder.moreless
  • An "issue of the week" episode; mostly unremarkable.

    7.0
    This episode is appropriately titled "Ethics" because there are two ethical dilemmas here - assisted suicide and the doctor's first duty.



    The first is frankly not that interesting. We have lots of sentimental junk with Alexander, the kid who ruined Worf. Picard gives some pompous speeches about Klingon culture to Riker.



    The second is better, perhaps because Beverly Crusher was among the most underutilized characters on the show. This story isn't just about using risky procedures on desperate patients; it's about what a doctor's first duty is, and what to do when that duty appears to conflict with a patient's desperate desire. Gates McFadden carries an episode that could have been much worse.moreless
  • As close to a tearjerker as it gets in ST:TNG

    8.5
    A good plot that takes the premise of medical ethics as its main theme. Centring the story around Worf was an excellent decision as he is probably the only character that could keep this from being run-of-the-mill. The conflict between Worf and his Klingon conscious allows the viewer to sympathise with the modern day plight of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Ryker actually does something I approve of and doesnt aid his friend giving him the chance to grasp an experimental treatment. This treatment is also another source of conflict better Dr. Bev and the specialist brought to help. I love it when Bev gets all ginger on someones ass! Just wish theyd had given her more storylines of that nature.



    To summarise there are no battles in this episode, but Worf struggle to find come to terms with his illness allows another look at the relationship between himself and Alexander - another dynamic theyd should have used more.



    Anyways, well worth a look for something that doesnt have any battle action.moreless
  • Worf is conducting inspection of round barrel-like containers when one of the containers falls. It lands on Worf fracturing his spine. Worf now feels worthless. According to Klingon tradition, life ends when a Klingon cannot stand on his own two feet.moreless

    9.2
    Worf is conducting inspection of round barrel-like containers when one of the containers falls. It lands on Worf fracturing his spine. Worf now feels worthless. According to Klingon tradition, life ends when a Klingon cannot stand on his own two feet. Worf asks Riker to help him perform the Klingon death ritual. Riker refuses because it is a family member who is suppose to help. Dr Russell, a spinal doctor comes aboard the “Enterprise”. Dr Russell has a plan. A experimental treatment may save Worf’s life, but he has a 50/50 chance of living. Will Worf’s life be saved?moreless
Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt./Lt. Cmdr. Worf

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Caroline Kava

Caroline Kava

Dr. Toby Russell

Guest Star

Brian Bonsall

Brian Bonsall

Alexander

Recurring Role

Patti Yasutake

Patti Yasutake

Alyssa Ogawa

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Worf is injured by the falling barrels, one of them loses its lid when it strikes the floor. However, when Geordi rushes over to help, the lid is back on.

    • When Riker is done talking to Worf about the suicide ritual he sets down the knife at Worf's feet, yet in the next scene it shows Worf handing the knife to his son. If he is paralyzed how is he able to get to the knife at his feet and then hand it to his son?

    • Why aren't the cargo containers secured with some kind of cable, rope or forcefield? The way they are stacked and considering how often the Enterprise is knocked around, it seems to be a wise precaution.

    • With all of this fantastic transporter and replicator technology, it seems a little strange that they don't just beam a new spine into the right place. After all, considering that Worf's spine is missing for quite a long time, they have a margin for error.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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