Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 8


Aired Unknown Nov 09, 1987 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
275 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 41255.6

Picard is forced to make a difficult choice when Wesley Crusher accidentally breaks a law on Rubicon III and is sentenced to death.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • While visiting a sex-crazed world, Wesley accidentally steps on a flower and is CONDEMNED TO DIE.

    Classic Trek has the space hippies, and TNG here gives us their answer: an alien race that's seemingly the offspring of a wannabe nudists and an aerobic instructor. The story here has some interesting ideas, but the execution is terrible, making this one of the easiest TNG episodes to make fun of. Unfortunately, the legitimate questions about the value "justice" of a death penalty are lost amid sexuality and a God-like machine. It doesn't help that Wheaton still isn't comfortable playing Wesley at this point in the series; he would improve greatly in the second season. Still, for all the issues this episode has, it has a campy fun factor going for it, reminiscent of some of the classic Trek episodes.moreless
  • The Enterprise crew prepare to take shore leave on a peaceful, paradise-like planet, but the ship encounters a God-like entity, and Wesley is sentenced to death for unintentionally breaking a seemingly minor law. Not that great, but not that bad either...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    Well, this is an episode that certainly seems to be unpopular amongst many viewers. I'll be the first to admit it is hardly 'The Next Generation's finest hour, and is rather typical of the "splashy" first season, but at the same time, it is surely better than those horrible first few episodes (terrible TOS reworking "The Naked Now" and possibly offensive blaxploitation story "Code of Honor" et al). "Justice" has a number of flaws, but at least has a decent story behind it, and I find it more watchable than those dodgy early examples.

    The episode marks the first real location shoot for the series. Representing the paradise-like Rubicon III, the location does the job, but does look very "1980s California"-esque! But anything that takes the crew away from the standard studio sets is welcome, in my book.

    The first few minutes of this episode look set to make for an excruciating story, as the Away Team beam down and are greeted by the semi-clad "love and peace" brigade of the planet. Even in 1987, it was kitsch, and at this point I really wasn't looking forward to the rest of the story.

    But, in fairness, a more thoughtful plot develops, as Wesley is sentenced to death for breaking a law (falling through the glass of a mini-greenhouse while retrieving a ball... yes, really!), while back on the ship, Picard and co. encounter a strange entity, that the planet's people take to be their God.

    We also get a nice scene(s) with Picard and Data, of Data "babbling", the first real example of the friendship between the Captain and Data that would continue and develop throughout the series, and on into the Next Generation movies. This is arguably the highlight of the episode.

    The second half is a bit drawn out, like they were stretching the story to fit the 44 minutes, and this is one of the things that work against the episode. Also, we get our first real experience in 'The Next Generation' of how sweeping The Prime Directive can be; this is one element of the series that would, by the end of the series, be right up it's own backside (and in many ways made me long for the more gung-ho tales of 'The Original Series').

    The planet's people are not forcibly holding Wesley, and in the end, Picard simply takes him away, conflicting with and jeopardising the Prime Directive. He risks encountering the wrath of both the God-like being, and the Federation, over his forced rescuing of Wesley, leaving a slightly uncertain end to the tale.

    I will admit that some of the acting in this one is pretty dodgy. Although I appreciate that the whole "peace and love" roles didn't exactly give much scope, the guest cast for the most part are pretty terrible. And the whole fact that this is a Wesley-centric episode will doubtlessly put some people off from the start.

    But personally, while by no means a favourite of mine, "Justice" has enough intrigue for me to give it some credit at least. Although it might not have much re-watchable value, for a "stand alone", watch once story, I give it a fair 8 out of 10.moreless
  • Pretty girls, ugly episode.

    The crew meets the Edo who live an illustrious life full of peace, harmony and sex. But if you trip into a bushes, you will die! This what happens for Wesly, after playing ball with Edo teens he badly tries to catch the ball and trips into the plants. BIG NO NO! So the cops come to kill him but the crew of the Enterprise comes to stop them. The Edo have a god that orbits the planet and calls the Edo his children. If anyone breaks their own rules they are unworthy, but then Picard talks to >God> about morality and the day is saved... and so is Wesly, %@#$!

    Oh well, it's better than Code of Honor, I'll give this episode that much credit.

    2 out of 5 stars. (4.0 on
  • When Wesley is a main character, you know the ep is going to be bad.

    Never mind the blinding plotholes. Let's just get into the fact that all the natives of this planet are blonde Californian health-nuts who dress in skimpy togas. Plus, the Enterprise made first contact. I assumed that, when a pre-warp culture is in the Federation, it is because they knew about the rest of the universe from other space-going organizations. What, Picard just decided to throw the Prime Directive out the window and go hug the natives? Go to Risa for entertainment, for Q's sake!moreless
  • An astoundingly bad episode as the Enterprise crew visits Planet Stereotype of California

    In 1987, "Next Generation" seemed like an amazing departure from the original Trek. Only now is it clear how much of the original series' cheese was present in the debut season of "ST:TNG."

    And this one is a doozy. The way it plays out, you suspect Gene just grabbed the script from a box of old series scripts they'd written but never taped.

    Tasha Yar does a crappy job of researching planet customs as Dr. Crusher decides, wouldn't it be fun to send the whole crew down for a vacation?

    And oh what a planet! First off, the crew should all recognize the planet, because the location would later serve as the grounds for Star Fleet Academy.

    Second, this is another one of those scripts where everyone in an entire civilization wears one style of clothes, one color and sports the same hairdos. In this case, it's like some weird foreign stereotype of what California must be like. Everyone wears skintight fitness gear here on Planet Workout, and the script actually has everyone running from place to place.

    The plot is crap, and never do you even suspect there will be consequences of Wesley's harmless infraction. Besides, the art direction in this episode is SO bad that you barely notice the plot. And the alien culture is so poorly imagined that you just kind of wish the Ferengi would show up and sell them all as sex slaves to some more fully formed culture.

    The only other thing that stands out in this episode is how uncomfortable Denise Crosby is trying to play Tasha Yar as frivolous and girly, making eyes with a horrible blow-dried blonde alien twinky man.

    In fact, except for Riker, who seems to jump into this script with relish, the whole cast gives the impression that they'd rather have sat this week out and done a guest shot on The Golden Girls that week.

    The worst episode of a spotty season -- and that's saying a LOT after the episode where the crew visits Planet African Stereotype.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

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • There are several clear violations of the Prime Directive that occur in this episode, primarily the open contact and revelation of advanced technology to a non-warp-available race. While this is not unprecedented based on events in the original series such as "A Private Little War," it contradicts the 70+ years of development since then, and future episodes such as "Pen Pal" and "First Contact."

    • When the "God" ship reveals itself, Picard can be seen standing between Data and Geordi. After the commercial break that immediately follows, he is shown to be walking from Geordi's right side to the same spot he occupied prior to the commercial break.

    • Tasha says she thoroughly researched all of the local laws and customs (which seems to be the least she could do if they're going to violate the Prime Directive and reveal their existence to a pre-warp culture) but she seems to have missed the law about wandering into flowerbeds that Wesley violates.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Wesley: I'm with Starfleet. We don't lie.

    • Beverly: The Edo want to execute my son. I will not allow that to happen, Jean-Luc.
      Data: Most interesting, sir. The emotion of motherhood is, compared to all others felt by hu...
      Beverly: Shut up!
      Data: You were right, sir. I do tend to babble.

    • Data: Would you choose one life over one thousand, sir?
      Picard: I refuse to let arithmetic decide questions like that.

    • Picard: It hangs there like a Nemesis.

    • Picard: The question of justice has concerned me greatly of late. And I say to any creature who may be listening: there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute. Even life itself is an exercise in exception.
      Riker: When has justice ever been as simple as a rule book?

    • Picard: Data, don't babble!
      Data: Babble, sir? I'm not aware that I ever babble, sir. It may be that from time to time I have considerable information to communicate, and you may question the way in which I organize it...
      Picard: Please... organize it into brief answers to my question.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The Edo exteriors were filmed at Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, CA. Wesley's fall was shot at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, CA.

    • Data says, "I'm not aware that I ever babble." This is yet another time he uses a contraction, even though he supposedly is unable to do so.

    • The location used for filming on the planet appears to be the same location as for Starfleet Headquarters in future episodes.

    • Josh Clark, who later appears as Lt. Carey on several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, is the Security/Tactical Officer.


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