Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 8


Aired Unknown Nov 09, 1987 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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out of 10
278 votes
  • 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.
  • 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...

    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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • STTNG crew go native and discover the ironic complexities of the prime directive.

    A laughable reprise of "The Apple" (which itself is a simple-minded episode from STTOS), wherein the concept of justice, along with the prime directive, is completely discarded by the morally "superior" crew of the Enterprise, represented of course by a pontificating Captain Picard. Additionally, the "acting" of a smirking Frakes, a disingenuously modest Sirtis. not to mention the rest, is simply horrid--almost a parody of the characters themselves. "Justice" is easily one of the worst Star Trek episodes ever and does absolutely nothing to suggest that STTNG's first season was anything but a disaster. Too bad this episode can't be melted down in the asteroid belt.
  • Another Recommended Episode...

    I know that so far that is what I have been naming these reviews, since I have a bunch to write, so I don't like to look for different things toname my reviews. I chose well-written, but this episode isn't the best. But it is still much better than most of the episodes.

    Here are some things that I have learned so far...I allways knew that Picard ordered Jack Crusher to his death, but I didn't know that Wesley was Picard's son... At least that's what I think that is what the trivia says..., but that explains a lot, like why Picard dislikes Children, and why he dislikes Wesley . But he later learns to work out these problems.

    And it really gets annoying when they talk about the Prime Directive a lot. I know that it is the Federation's Policy Of First Contact With Alien Species, and to not interfere with them, unless they request Federation Assistance, and to follow their rules whenever they are in their jurisdiction, and that if the civilization hasn't achieved space travel yet, that they should hold off First Contact Alltogether... But I don't like it when they mention it in every other episode...

    Also, the Edo Space Station looks similar to the base in "Conundrum" where they lose their memory,

    But this episode is very strange, but at least everything works out in the end.
  • Just the pits...

    There have been worse Star Trek episodes than this. But not many.

    It's a veritable collection of cringe-worthy cliches, combining planet of the half-naked, sex-mad aliens with that old Trek cliche of the powerful entity that poses as god to a lesser species.

    This is basically like fanfic - very bad fanfic - written by a horny 14 old old sci-fi geek. The plot is simplistic, annoying and dramatically unsatisfying on just about every level. The dialogue is crap, the performances are poor, the directing's just an all-round stinker, folks.

    By this point in the series, I still didn't CARE about the characters, which confounded things all the more. And Wesley is so irritating, so wet and so badly performed in this episode (sorry, Wil Wheaton), that I almost kind of wished he had been given that lethal injection. At least then we'd have been spared Picard's dreadful speech at the end (Patrick Stewart delivers it as if he's reciting Shakespeare, which really makes things all the worse, because this lousy script is anything but Shakespeare).

    Pretend this one never happened.
  • Another Prime Directive dilemma

    I thought this was a good example of the type of episode that would form a good portion of the early season episodes. This is the first example of when the crew dont do their homework and fail to learn about the alien customs. Here its their justice laws. When Wesley is about to be put to death for a trivial matter, the crew is faced with breaking the prime directive or trying to do otherwise.

    Complicating matters is the appearance of a craft (that looks like the space station in a later season) above the planet. It belongs to and advanced race that exist in multiple dimensions.

    I believe that the less advanced race was probably a little risque at the time of original showing, with hints of orgies and unattached sex. Still, the issues of contravining the laws of other races is posed well, even if hte ending is a little superficial with the powerful entities not fizzling out, rather than confronting the Enterprise.

    Definitely worth a watch though, if only to see Wesley in trouble!!
  • Another chance at proper drama wasted for the writer's wet dream of a society.

    Picard and crew arrive at a planet with this possessive multi-dimensional thing hanging over it, and whose inhabitants are innocent and pure and really like to massage, kiss, and do other things with each other.

    There's only one punishment for ANY crime - death by painless injection by some bloke wearing mauve. And they are placed randomly, and whose shifts change. Nobody tells our heroes about their system of justice.

    Wesley breaks the law by accidentally tripping over a fence, crushing some flowers. This warrants death. And if the cop's shift hadn't ended, then the whole away team would be destined for the syringe too. Anything approaching "the prime directive" is shoved to the very end, where Picard blithers one line about the "spirit of the law" and they're allowed to go free, just like that. What?! How about an actual discourse as to WHY Wesley's sentence should be rescinded? Accidents vs deliberate intent surely matters? And who polices the police? Or were audiences in 1987 incapable of thought? The story is too simplistic, and other stories deal with the prime directive in far more credible ways.

    Why instead spend so much time on scantily clad people oiling each other and making double entendres for Wesley to blush at? Oh yes, this is season one of The Next Generation, in 1987! Sex sells! (In theory, anyway...)

    Okay, I did like the mysterious god-thing, but it is kept on the sidelines too.

    The whole episode has some ideas, but prefers to be superficial than really digging in. And I mean it really prefers being superficial. And that's a shame; this story could have been so much more...
  • Spring Break with a deadly Trek twist....

    The Enterprise, looking for a place to kick back and relax for a while, bumps into the planet of Rubicon III. This planet is populated by a bunch of people who run everywhere, do basically nothing else but make love, and look like they just came back from filming a Richard Simmons Star Trek-style work out tape. The making love part is what makes the Enterprise crew excited about taking their shore leave there (good thing all of the main Enterprise crew members are single....) and Riker, Worf, Troi, Yar, and Wesley go down to the planets surface to see if Rubicon III would make a good pit stop. Well, all seems great at first (in a cheesy sin sort of way) but all goes hellish when Wesley accidentally messes up a flower garden and the crew see what the penalty for breaking ANY law in Rubicon III is: death. Now Picard must choose whether or not to break the Prime Directive (don't interfere with another culture) or save Wesley. But before you shout out: "Um, DUH, just save Wesley," the planet's "god" makes trouble for the Enterprise, telling it to not interfere with its "children." Ooops.

    Well "Justice" is not a particularly good episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I cannot quite bring myself to call it bad either. The first quarter to half of the episode it awful - watching the away team on this ridiculous planet - but the episode does get a whole lot better once Wesley gets in trouble and the "god" makes things difficult for the Enterprise. When the question of what Picard has to do enters the episode, Data and this "god" thing have an interesting relationship, Picard and Data share a couple of great scenes, and there is some genuine tension and feeling in the story.
  • Demise of Wesley Crusher....almost.

    There are not many positive things you can say about this episode on a seriously developed critical basis. The writing, the acting, the story progression all suffer from a case of subpar development that in the end leaves the viewer coming away from this one feeling they had just watched an outtake that was never meant to be offically broadcast.

    The score I gave it might seem contradictory to just what I just wrote, and on the basis of the story, writing and acting it actually is an exaggerated mark. The reason I voted it as I did, and what I feel a lot of other viewers would also view as the one good aspect of the episode is that we almost see the demise of Mr Wesley Crusher. Up till this point in the series (and more to come) Wesley comes off as an irritating, meddling, arrogant know it all brat that not only causes Picard and other officers plenty of irritation, but who also is able to get under the skin of the viewer. The sequence in an eariler episode (Naked Now) where he takes over engineering and becomes the "Captain" is a prime example. So when we are treated to him acting like a giant fool and disregarding obvious and large barriers and signs to stay off the garden, yet still tumbles head first right into the forbidden zone we get a nice laugh. When we then learn he faces the potential of paying a hard price for it, it provides an even greater incentive to watch and cross our fingers to see the end of his character. Unforuntely we are not so lucky, and the way in which he is saved from his fate is just a part of what makes this episode sink right to the bottom of quality episodes.

    With Wesley facing execution we get the whole issue of the Prime Directive brought up and whether or not the Enterprise crew is forbidden to interfere in the local justice system and culture of the people on the planet. Theoretically, and if you go right by the book with Prime Directive, then no, they have no right to interfere. In reality though, we get a totally unconvincing display of worry from Dr Crusher for her son, and a similair feeing of moral twisting from the Captain himself. In the end Picard attempts to explain this to the planet's population and leaders and it ends with him deciding to rescue Wesley. That might sound like a very general summing up of events and fails to include what arguments the Captain used, but in reality it is almost exactly as it happened; we the viewers are not really given much else than that ourselves and the episode really ends with the main issue unresolved and kind of just swept out of the way. This is the main example of the poor writing and development of plot in this episode.

    Other "highlights" include the overall character of the planet and it's population; from their airheaded and simplistic mentality to their idiotic 80's fitness wear attire. Throw in some embarrasing reactions from the away team and slack jawed gawking from Wesley "the boy" and you have a classic stinker.
  • Funniest TNG episode ever: The Enterprise arrives at Planet Fitness/Sex for some shore leave, but things go haywire once Wesley walks over an ankle-high fence and trips into a flower bed, earning himself the death penalty.

    The 1st season of TNG contains several serious contenders for "worst episode of the series", but few are as funny as this one. It's hard to keep a straight face through the first half of this episode as it rushes through one hilariously bad plot idea after another. Despite the low rating, I would put this as one of my top 5 or 6 favorite season 1 episodes.

    It really is a treasure trove of gaffes: aliens that look like they came out of an 80s aerobics video, the Enterprise crew awkwardly jogging with the natives to their meeting hall, one of the natives playing some sort of phallic musical instrument, a flat-out bizarre conversation between Riker and Worf about Klingon sex... wow.

    However, the highlight of the episode comes when Worf and Tasha discover that this intergalactic health club/orgy den has a dark side: capital punishment. Not for being flabby or wearing more than 2 square inches of clothing, but for BREAKING THE RULES. Cue ominous music: we flash to Wesley Crusher, who ignores the OBVIOUS warning of a 3-inch white fence and crashes into a flower bed. The skimpily-dressed police (and terribly acted -- even for 1st season, these guys are bad -- maybe they really did come straight out of a health club) come ready to execute him for this horrendous transgression. I dare you not to burst out into laughter when Wesley utters the line "We're from Starfleet -- WE DON'T LIE."

    Unfortunately, the episode loses much of its humor after this point and becomes just another bad 1st season episode. I do think there are some interesting ideas here -- the part where the female Edo encounters her God is actually very well-done; the sequence where the Edo's God threatens to attack the Enterprise generates some genuine excitement; and the concept of whether the Federation should just walk over the rules of a weaker culture when necessary is an intriguing one (though handled very poorly here).

    Watching this episode, I was struck by how poor of an actor Gates McFadden was in this point of the series. She would get MUCH better from season 3 on, but her totally insincere concern for Wesley's welfare was a real groaner.
  • Dr Krusher suggest to the Captain shore leave would be nice. An away team beams down to Rubicun III. Rubican III is a peaceful planet full of recreation. While on the planet, Wesley Crusher unknowingly breaks the law.

    Dr Krusher suggest to the Captain shore leave would be nice. An away team beams down to Rubicun III. Rubican III is a peaceful planet full of recreation. While on the planet, Wesley Crusher unknowingly breaks the law. Wesley is being charged with entering a restricted area. The penalty for the crime is death. Picard is risking violating the prime directive to save Wesley. Meanwhile a entity known to the planet settlers as God, is threatening the “Enterprise” Will Wesley be able to leave the planet? Watch this episode and see? I rate this one a 8.7
  • Picard is forced to choose between friendship, and the Prime Directive, when Wesley Crusher accidently breaks the law and is therefore sentenced to death while on Rubicon III.

    I love it when Picard says "Lets just hope its not too good to be true." ....I just absolutely love how Picard always knows everything. ;D

    lol, and not to mention when Worf says "Nice planet..." to #2....that was pretty funny. ...I think Wesley just about poped one when the Rubican lady hugged him. hahahaha.

    Otherwise, it was a really sweet episode, I love how Data and the 'God' share knowledge. I'm also diggin' how the 'the prime directive' comes into play when Wesley accidentally breaks a law and is sentenced to death. They try to figure out if the 'God' is going to destroy them if they break their own 'Prime directive' and interfere with the Rubicans...they said (about the 'God'):

    "It hangs there like a Nemesis"

    some of my favorite quotes:

    Data: "You were right, sir...I do tend to babble"

    Picard: "It hangs there like a nemesis"

    Data: "Would you choose 1 life over 1,000"
    Picard: "I refuse to allow arithmatic to decide questions like that"

    Picard: "Did you learn anything about the relationship between that and the Edo, why are they so certain its a God?"
    Data: "Any sufficiently advanced lifeform would be that, sir."
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