Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 15

Pen Pals

Aired Unknown May 01, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
219 votes
  • Data saves his friend/Wesley get responsibility

    Great episode, one that I found to emotionally portray human beings with a positive light - that somewhere in all of us there is the want and knowledge to do the right thing.

    Shame it took an android to remind the team! Well ok it was probably designed that way by the writers! Anyhow, a slow start without action, serves as an adequate platform into a slow but thoughtful middle and a mildy satisfying ending.

    The crux of the episode is whether or not the rules we make can be broken, and whether not even for a good cause. In this case its the prime directive and Data responds to a low tech. RF signal which is a cry for help from a dying world.

    This plot strand takes a ethical dilemma and demonstrates it on the tails of a very personal story between Data and Sarjenka. Meanwhile on a paralle subplot, Wessers is given his first test of command as he is given the role of leader of a taskgroup looking for a solution to the seismic events that are destroying Sarjenka's planet. This is a pretty ponderous affair but does add a nice angle towards the overall story.

    Though this episode is devoid of any real action, there is a large threat that hangs over the population of an entire planet, even if because we dont see them in danger at least the helpless voice of Sarjenka is used to good effect to convince of the plight. The middle acts only real contribution is to have the command crew debate the issues and heap a helping of uneasiness onto the viewer so they join in the awkwardness of not being able to help.

    Yeah the ending could have gone one of two ways, but could it have really?! Wessers overcomes his issues with taking command and Data saves his pen-pal. However, Dr. Paulanski's treatment of the girl does pose another ethical question..... or does it?
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