Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 7

Lonely Among Us

Aired Unknown Nov 02, 1987 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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out of 10
266 votes
  • 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.
  • 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...

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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. ...
  • 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.
  • Picard the puppet....

    Being the flagship of the Federation has its ups and downs. Captain Jean-Luc Picard sure would rather explore the galaxy than babysit two races as they prepare to sit down for peace talks, yet the latter is what the Enterprise is needed for. En route to the location of the peace talks with members of the two alien races aboard, the Enterprise passes a seemingly uninteresting cloud in space. But soon do things begin to become strange onboard as certain crew members - even Captain Picard - begin to not act like themselves.

    Even though Gates McFadden is not at her best as Dr. Crusher and the costumes the show uses for the two alien races are worse than your garden variety preschool Halloween party, "Lonely Among Us" is a good episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation - especially for season one. Really every actor portraying a member of the essential Enterprise crew is at their best (with the exception of McFadden who just does not quite nail it) - specifically, Stewart tangos with duel Picards and Frakes' Riker battles the idea of mutiny. This episode, despite its few missteps, has urgency, tension, and strength in its storytelling.
  • Data is introduced to Sherlock Holmes

    And that is the only real intersting point of this episode. Some of the crew are being mysteriously taken over by some electro-magnetic entity that was dragged away from its home in nebula. Recovering later they have no idea of the ordeal of what went before and the crew remain baffled as to what happened. In the meantime the entity uses its hosts to find a way to return the ship to the location of its home.

    This takes a final drive as it takes over Picard and he orders the crew home. The supposed mutiny never really occurs, which left that scene somewhat flat. In a bizare twist at the end Picard is transported along with the entity into the nebula in energy form. Trust Ryker to give up so easily in trying to save the captain! Never trust a 2nd in command!

    Anyway, Picard is saved and the episode ends in an amusing way as one of the party of delegates is found to have chopped up one of the lizard delegation for food! The whole delegate plotline being a mere deus ex machina to get the ship towards the entity that becomes the reall antaganist.

    The only real good part of the episode is that we get to see hints of the best of what is to come from Brent Spiner in becoming the refined Data we know in later seasons and how he takes on the persona of an android Sherlock Holmes. Watch it, but dont expect anything great!
  • An energy being takes over Picard's body, putting the Captain's life in danger.

    This episode has drawbacks shared by the rest of Season 1: preachy lectures about the backwardness of pre-24th century human civilization (laid on particularly thick this time), very cheesy music, bad writing and mediocre acting. The alien races are completely one-dimensional and the costumes look like they came straight out of the Salvation Army store.

    That said, the underlying plot is solid (if poorly executed). There is a great running gag with Data mimicking Sherlock Holmes (prompting Picard to ask him to get rid of the damn pipe!) There's also a goofy hypnosis scene with Counselor Troi that I found amusing. Some tension is built up as conflict builds between Picard and the senior crew, but this is hamstrung by the poor writing.

    TNG overdid it with energy beings and this episode certainly doesn't overturn that impression.
  • More interesting trivia

    Several things come to mind while watching this particular episode: When Worf finds Singh dead in engineering, he taps his communicator badge, but apparently the foley man was on vacation, because there wasn't any activation sound. Another is that back in 1987, when the preview for the episode aired for the first time, the special effects weren't even IN this episode, so when Captain Picard touches the com panels, you don't see any blue lightning effects, just everyone jumping around and spazzing out while the arc welder is used in the foreground to create the flash effects. Ah, good times. Always struck me as kind of a rushed, filler episode.

    However, on an interesting side note, it was the first TNG episode with truly alien looking aliens (not just aliens that were living space ships).
  • The “Enterprise” is transporting two adversary civilizations to a conference planet. On the way the “Enterprise encounters a energy cloud. Lt Worf is knocked unconscious. When he awakes he starts acting strangely. Dr. Crusher touches Worf.

    The “Enterprise” is transporting two adversary civilizations to a conference planet. On the way the “Enterprise encounters a energy cloud. Lt Worf is knocked unconscious. When he awakes he starts acting strangely. Dr. Crusher touches Worf. She is now the one acting strangely. The “Enterprise” drops out of warp. Picard wants answers. Assiatant Chief Engineer Singh investigates the problem. He is killed by the mysterious energy form. Picard is now acting strangely and commands the ship be turned around. Riker thinks the Captain may be mentally unstable. So he orders a medical evaluation. Will Picard be okay?
  • Picard's mind is taken over by an energy field that the Enterprise passes through.

    What a great idea for this episode...a being that is composed only of energy....and can travel at any speed imaginable.

    also, I wonder why Data is so fascinated with Sherlock Holmes.....he acts like him in a few other episodes too...

    "It's elementary my dear Riker...........Sir."

    overall, it was a great episode :)
  • "Get out of my mind!"

    Lonely Among Us is pretty much a TOS episode with the TNG crew instead. An entity enters the crews' mind one by one and things get weird. The show was getting pretty interesting but by the time the entity controlled Picard, it just faded out and the rest of the show isn't that good. When the entity comes at Worf and pushes him away from the interface com, that was pretty cool. Overall this episode is half good half bad so I'll recommend it for the good half. 2.5, almost average but not.

    I give this a 2.5 out of 5 stars. (5.0 on
  • Energy being... stupid plotline.

    I'm sorry, but other than the immensely entertaining beginning of Data's interest with Sherlock Holmes, this is a stupid episode. The original series did the same problem with two fighting races and an energy being, only the original series did it better. The fighting races in TNG are ignored, and even a horrible murder is treated lightly. The transporter trick is impossible in the end. All in all, it's just a bad episode, even for an early one.
  • poor picard

    poor picard. he\'s always taking one for the team. whether he\'s being attacked by random energy feilds or probes or aggressive lady aliens. but it\'s more tastefully done than were the shenanigans of the unforgettable captain kirk.

    i\'m not going to talk so much about this episode as am i about the trend that starts in this episode. picard fights a good number of inner battles over the years in TNG. He lives an alternate life in a virtual world similated by an alien probe. He exists as a mere shadow of himself burried inside the borg creature Locutius. He must fight Data on metaphorical, imaginative plains when Data is taken over by an alien entity. He has to overcome the Holodeck\'s computer programing, etc. etc.

    I like this episode so much because it\'s the first of many that feature a captain whose battles are metaphorical, internal, mential, ethical, etc. instead of a captain who is about spreading his seen and beating up bad guys, like Kirk... but, then, Picard has been known to do his fair share of fist-fighting, too, i guess...He\'s not innocent. But at least some of his battles are mental.