The basic premise of this story revolves around the fact that the Enterprise discovers a celestial oddity known as a Dyson Sphere. A Dyson Sphere, in effect, is a planetoid-shaped metal frame built AROUND an existing star. It substitutes the star as a planetary core in order to power the entire sphere. Let that sink in for a moment, and you’ll realize how incomprehensibly ridiculous that sounds – even by Star Trek standards. Do you know how many worlds would have to be mined for mineral ore to produce a Dyson Sphere? Thousands if not millions! Star Trek has always required its fans to maintain a suspension of disbelief when it came to their technical achievements, but the notion of a Dyson Sphere is so far above and beyond the realms of feasible possibility, that I’m quite surprised the notion was even introduced into the series.
But forget about the silly Dyson Sphere. That’s not what this episode is about. This episode is about the return of Starfleet’s most famous Chief Engineer, Montgomery Scott! Trapped in the pattern buffer of a transporter for over 75 years, Scotty returns to find a new century, a new Enterprise and a new crew. And even though he’s three quarters of a century behind the times, his genius is still sharp enough to even give Geordi LaForge a run for his money. There are some great moments where we find Scotty visibly bristling over the concept of a Klingon officer; his disgust at the blasphemy of serving synthetic alcohol in the ship’s lounge; the perplexity at finding a sentient android holding an officer’s rank, and naturally, the energetic team-up between the two most accomplished engineers in all of Starfleet.
This was an episode for the “fans”, and as such, remains a beloved staple in the mythology of Star Trek.