Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 7

Lonely Among Us

Aired Unknown Nov 02, 1987 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
254 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Stardate: 41249.3 While escorting diplomatic members of two alien races to a neutral planet called Parliament, the Enterprise approaches an energy field. Circling around the field in order to briefly study it, the Enterprise collects the data, and continues towards its destination...with one extra passenger.

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • The Enterprise is transporting delegates to a peace conference when an alien entity boards the ship.

    The A story here would become a cliché in Star Trek: an alien entity tries to take over the ship. It's not really cliché here, because it's done for the first time… but it's not done very well. The B story is sort of a poor man's "Journey to Babel" and isn't bad. (Actually, this episode was written by the same writer of that classic Star Trek episode, D.C. Fontana.) All in all, there are worse episodes, and there are better. The story (by Michael Halperin) is weak, but at least Fontana knows what she's doing and doesn't let the episode drag.moreless
  • While delivering diplomats from two feuding species to a neutral meeting, the Enterprise encounters a mysterious energy cloud, that, one-by-one, takes control of senior crew members. Not a classic, but some reasonable moments...moreless

    This review contains spoilers.

    Although definitely not a 'Next Generation' classic, "Lonely Among Us" in my opinion delivers a reasonable story. Coming after "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which I personally loved, whether you like "Lonely..." or not, I think it definitely shows signs of the series finally finding it's own footing, feeling far more polished than the horribly "plasticy" feeling early entries.

    The story, of the alien cloud entity jumping from one member of the crew to another, is not really anything new in 'Trek' lore. It is handled reasonably, but I did find it a bit dragged out in some places. However, things do pick up for the climax, where it takes control of Picard himself, and beams him/it away into the energy cloud. Cue some not really believable but watchable developments of Picard now being in energy form inside the ship's circuitry, allowing Data to conveniently find a way to beam him back into his human form, allowing all to be well for another episode.

    Although nothing special, I disagree with some reviewers that the alien costumes for the two alien species, and find that they do the job adequately considering the modest 1987 TV budget.

    Speaking of these visiting aliens, something that I have always remembered for this episode is the sequence where Riker is walking along a corridor, only for a leash to suddenly be put around his neck, and a couple of the aliens to appear and say "Sorry, wrong species!". I don't know why, but this moment has always stuck in my mind.

    I'm not sure why, but I really liked "guest engineer" Mr. Singh when I was young, and was disappointed when he was killed off. For all of its cultural diversity, 'Trek' has never really had a strong Indian male character (that I can recall).

    But of course, the most notable element of this story, is Data's discovery of Sherlock Holmes. It is about this point that the writers & Brent Spiner really start to get a handle on the character, and it makes for some really amusing scenes.

    The episode has other good moments too – I like the bridge being engulfed in disabling blue energy at the climax of the story. In all, "Lonely Among Is" is no classic, and not an outstanding favourite of mine, but it isn't all that bad either, and I don't think it deserves the low rating some give it. I give this episode a fair 8 out of 10.moreless
  • Next Gen's first alien possession story.

    A bit of a mess in terms of plot but the idea of the loneliness at the heart of Picard implied by the script is interesting - so much so that he would abandon the ship to be with the alien entity (unless it’s not really Picard himself who makes that decision in which case it doesn’t reveal anything.) This for me was the most interesting aspect of this script but it took so long for the entity to body-hop into Picard that time to consider the character’s motives was not available. Deep character exploration is not on the agenda for this season.moreless
  • Another Recommended Episode...

    Argyle is a first season Chief Engineer because he is mentioned in this episode. But they needed somebody that they could kill off in one episode, so they had his assistant on this episode.

    But Why do I like this episode?? Same reason!! It is well written, and has good music that has adventure, drama, and suspense in it. Not very many episodes have this...

    This episode has Chief Obrien. He is in his yellow suit now. He has allways had a Lt. Rank on his uniform......

    This episode is similar to "Alleigence", another episode where they have to deal with a "fake" Picard. ...moreless
  • A weak, hackneyed script that regurgitates that ol' sci-fi favourite, alien possession...

    Written by TOS veteran DC Fontana (who really ought to know better, I might add), this is a weak entry into the show's already weak first season. It's by no means the poorest of these early episodes, but it still rates as more than mediocre in my book.

    The sub-plot, which recycles Fontana's own 'Journey to Babel' is moderately amusing, but the main storyline, in which an energy being systematically takes possession of various crew members is extremely slow and plodding. It becomes a little more interesting once it settles in Picard and forces his senior officers to mutiny, but it's all let down by a woeful anti-climax that ultimately amounts to...well, nothing.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

Marc Alaimo

Marc Alaimo

Antican Delegate

Guest Star

Colm Meaney

Colm Meaney

First Security Guard

Guest Star

Kavi Raz

Kavi Raz

Lt. Cmdr. Singh

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Trivia: This is the first episodes where the "dress" Starfleet uniforms are worn. They had a long gold braid which was the entire length of the jacket.

    • When LaForge and Crusher help Worf up off the floor in Sensor Maintainence, you can see the label for the door that should normally be outside in the hall.

    • When Singh falls and dies, his eyes are wide open, but when Worf rolls him over and says he is dead, they are closed.

    • Trivia: In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Spock refers to Sherlock Holmes when he says the line "An ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Data used the same quote in this episode, although not with the exact same words: "We must fall back on the old axiom that when other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

    • In the final scene, Picard, Riker, and Troi treat the death of a peace delegate with a lightness and sense of humor that is completely innappropriate and out-of-character. I mean, wouldn't this mean war between two species wishing to join the Federation? Isn't this the murder of a sentient being?

    • As the Enterprise returns to the energy cloud, in an undershot of the ship, you can see the NCC-1701-D reversed.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Riker: (getting snared) What the hell?
      Antican Candidate: Sssorry, wrong ssspecies!

    • Dr. Crusher: You are only an Acting Ensign, Wes. You have to let the commissioned officers do some of the work.

    • Picard: What are you talking about Data? Is this still Sherlock Holmes?
      Data: Indubitably, sir. Indubitably.
      Picard: Well at least you got rid of that damn pipe.

    • Data: Elementary, my dear Riker.....sir.

    • Riker: We no longer enslave animals for food purposes.
      Antican: But we have seen humans eat meat.
      Riker: You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat, but inorganically materialized out of patterns used by our transporters.
      Antican: Sickening!

    • Worf: You wanted me, Doctor?
      Dr. Crusher: Yes, concerning your memory blackout.
      Worf: (peeved) I still don't remember having one.

  • NOTES (4)

    • O'Brien's uniform is now gold, the color it will remain throughout TNG and DS9. He appears in red in "All Good Things..." only because Picard has gone back in time to the first episode when O'Brien wore a red uniform.

    • It indicates here that the character of Miles O'Brien is not formally introduced until Season 2's "Measure of a Man." However, a few episodes before that one, in "Unnatural Selection," when Riker calls him in the transporter room he answers back and refers to himself as "Chief O'Brien."

    • Singh had the dubious honor of being the first Enterprise-D crewman killed on the series.

    • Marc Alaimo, better known for his role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the infamous Gul Dukat, makes a guest appearance in the episode as the Antican Delegate.


    • Picard: Time and tide, Lt. LaForge.
      Referencing the old proverb, the modern variation of which is "Time and tide wait for no man". Robert Burns, in Tam O'Shanter, (1787) put it, "Nae man can tether time or tide". Robert Green, in Disputations (1592) wrote "Time nor tide tarrieth no man".

    • Data: Indubitably, my good woman.
      Data takes on the mannerisms of Sherlock Holmes, a fictional Victorian detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Data's fascination culminates in later episodes with holodeck adventures and the self-conscious holodeck character Moriarty.