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Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 7 Episode 19


Aired Unknown Mar 21, 1994 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
202 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 47653.2 Upon returning from an away mission, Picard and Data find the ship drifting in space, and the crew de-evolving into their animal ancestors.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Ugh, More Devolution Nonsense

    I hate episodes where physical changes happen so quickly and then poof, they fix it super fast. Devolution, Transporter Changes (adults to kids or kids to adults or some stupid thing "thats never happened before"). I know it's science fiction but episodes like this take me out of the "reality" of future humankind possibilities because to me, it's stupid and nonsensical.
  • Gates sets the tempo.

    This horror episode opens with a chaotic scene in sickbay that leaves no doubt who's in charge: Dr. Crusher. There's no doubt who's in charge of the rest of the episode, either: the director, Gates McFadden. The meat of this episode, which serves as her directorial debut, features Picard and Data, and like the opening teaser, the plot (which is pretty shoddy science) is carried out with over the top acting.

    Like sixth season's "Timescape", the episode takes us away from the ship for a brief time (via a shuttlecraft) so we can return to it and approach the drama from a different angle to heighten the suspense and intrigue. This sets the table for frightening encounters that McFadden plays up for all their worth - and which features visually stunning transformations which are a must see.

    It's just too bad that the writers didn't combine this and the previous episode, "Eye of the Beholder", into a hybrid dream episode where the broad acting and the implausible premise here would make more sense.

  • An interesting but not particularly successful experiment.

    TNG dipped its toes into sci fi horror a few times. In this case, we're not talking about any sort of intense psychological tension, but rather cheap scares.

    Of course, cheap doesn't necessarily mean bad. There are some genuinely freaky moments here - mostly surrounding Worf - biting Troi's face, spitting on Crusher (yikes!), and the chase of Picard down a Jeffreys tube. We also get Barclay as a spider and Riker as an apeman.

    The rest - well, ho hum. It's another "virus infects the crew and make them act crazy" episode, which we'd abandoned since the 2nd season but are now subjected to again.

    A harmless throwaway.moreless
  • Lt Barclay thinks something is wrong with him. He goes to Dr Krusher and she says he is overacting. Dr. Krusher checks Barclay anyway and finds he has the Urodean Flu. Dr. Krusher gives Barclay a shot of a synthetic T-Cell.moreless

    Lt Barclay thinks something is wrong with him. He goes to Dr Krusher and she says he is overacting. Dr. Krusher checks Barclay anyway and finds he has the Urodean Flu. Dr. Krusher gives Barclay a shot of a synthetic T-Cell. The problem is the T-cell switches on DNA strands known as introns. Introns contain the blueprints for evolution. Picard and Data come back from a photon torpedo recovery. They find the “Enterprise” adrift and slightly rotating in space. The crew has turned into pre-historic beings. Now Data is the only hope in finding a cure for the Barclay syndrome.moreless
  • Excellent Episode.

    This is my all-time favorite episode. Even tho it's a little iffy as to how realistically it could happen, it is science fiction. i think they're allowed to be iffy. Odd that most Broccoli basied episode are among my least favorite, his obsession with Starfleet's medical database makes me laugh, as i am too an acute hypochondriac. i have a weird symptom and i run to the computer to find out what it coudl be. but i stop there and tell myself that just one weird ailment is not a death sentence. i don't go running to the doctor. of course if it was free i probably would.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

Rusty McLennon

Rusty McLennon

Worf (creature form)

Guest Star

Carlos Ferro

Carlos Ferro

Ensign Dern

Guest Star

Patti Yasutake

Patti Yasutake

Alyssa Ogawa

Recurring Role

Dwight Schultz

Dwight Schultz

Lt. (J.G.) Reginald "Reg" Barclay III

Recurring Role

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Computer Voice

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (14)

    • When Picard and Data go to Troi's quarters it says Lt Cdr on the door. However, as she was promoted to Commander in the episode "Thine Own Self" it should say Commander.

    • The description Data gives for introns is incorrect. They are non-coding sequences (meaning they are not translated into proteins), and do not represent "old" genes that are no longer used.

    • When Data scans Troi in her quarters, he tells Picard that "she is no longer human." Of course she is not human, she is half-Betazoid.

    • When speaking to Barclay in his quarters, Data tells him that "Captain Picard and me" may not return for several days. However, Data is programmed to use perfect grammar. What he should said was "Captain Picard and I."

    • It is highly unlikely that newborn kittens will survive for 24 hours without care. A cat's first litter is occasionally neglected, and the kittens will then die within 18-24 hours.

    • The concept of "reverse evolution" is somewhat dicey. The idea of evolution is that mutation and natural selection allow for more advantageous genes to be passed on to the next generation. No one can have the genes for fins suddenly turned on because we don't have them in the first place because they were never passed down to us. As to the rest, while the majority of human DNA matches that of other species (presumably for basic functions such as muscle tissue organization), there is no reason for human DNA to contain sequences specific to other species. For example, Barclay turns into a spider despite the fact that the human genome does not contain anything which would produce compound eyes or silk.

    • In almost every other episode of the series Data's cat, Spot, is a male. In this episode however Spot is a female as it manages to give birth!

    • When Worf's banging on Troi's doorway, as Picard and Data look at the door it is dented, but when the camera cuts to Worf's side the door is undamaged.

    • The model shot of the shuttlecraft has writing on the back door - when they switch to the full-size set model in the shuttlebay when Picard and Data get out, no writing is present.

    • When they go into Worf's quarters, Picard and Data have lit flashlights. In subsequent shots Data's flashlight goes off and then on again for no reason.

    • Geordi says they can't find Worf, but later when we see him he is wearing his communicator badge - why can't they track him through that? (In fact, Data later locates Ogawa using her communicator.)

    • Pygmy marmosets are typically fairly brave animals - nothing like the timid creature Picard becomes.

    • When Troi gets treated for her bite mark, Dr. Crusher doesn't do much - she just leaves the bite marks in evidence when usually she just runs a medical device over and totally eradicates the injury. Conveniently this means the altered Troi will have the bite marks so she can be recognized later.

    • Data mentions how Riker's brain has decreased in size. It is amazing how Riker's brain has been restored to its original size and intact (i.e. no loss of cognitive skills, memories, etc.) at the end of the episode.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (talking about a pregnant Spot)
      Barclay: I'm curious, sir. Who's the father?
      Data: I am not certain. Spot has escaped from my quarters on several occasions and there are 12 male felines on board.

    • Dr. Crusher: You know, Reg, this is a completely new disease and it's traditional to classify a new disease with the name of the first diagnosed patient.
      Barclay: Oh. You mean you want to name the disease after me?
      Dr. Crusher: That's right. How about "Barclay's Protomorphosis Syndrome"?
      Barclay: Barclay's Protomorphosis...ehm...it has a nice ring to it. Thank you, Doctor.
      Dr. Crusher: He transformed into a spider and now he has a disease named after him.
      Counselor Troi: I think I'd better clear my calendar for the next few weeks.

  • NOTES (5)

    • This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup.

    • This episode won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

    • This episode marks the final appearance of Lt. Reginald 'Reg' Barclay (Dwight Schultz) on the series. He would later appear in Star Trek: First Contact and the Star Trek: Voyager episodes "Projections," "Pathfinder," "Life Line," "Inside Man," "Author, Author" and "Endgame."

    • When Data and Picard find the de-evolved Riker in the ready room, he is attempting to get to the fish in the built-in wall tank. Once they get Riker's attention, he turns around and with his left hand on the tank he pretty clearly gives both of them the middle finger.

    • The original draft had the crew turning into Barclay, but this was deemed too extreme.