Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 6 Episode 24

Second Chances

Aired Unknown May 24, 1993 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (5)

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out of 10
186 votes
  • A clever twist on on standard sci-fi concept

    As mentioned in another review, the idea of a double for a main character has been used a lot. What's different here is that the double isn't a clone, or from another dimension, or even an "evil" version of the character. Instead the 2 Rikers were literally the same person up until 8yrs before the episode takes place.

    I enjoyed the "what-ifs" of Lt. Riker's reunion with Deanna, and dilemma she faces as a result. This is the main story line of the episode, and it carried the load well. Good writing, good directing, and excellent acting!

    My only complaint about this episode is that I would have like to seen more about Cmdr Riker's reaction to discovering he had a "twin", and the psychological underpinnings of the way he interacts with that twin. There is a brief discussion between Data and Worf about it, but no1 talks directly to Will about it. Normally, that would be Deanna's place, but she already had a lot to deal with in this episode. I think a scene where Picard confronts Cmdr Riker about his reaction to his twin would have been intriguing.
  • Two Rikers not as exciting as one

    From a visual standpoint, this episode is a marvel (especially for a character based story). The two Rikers share scenes as if there are two Jonathan Frakes working together on set, and perhaps even better, we get to see Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi in sexy futuristic nightclub clothes (if only briefly). But from a story standpoint, the plot is a lead balloon, doomed from the start to never get off the ground.

    Will Riker is the Enterprise's everyman. The character works best when he serves as the audience surrogate in bizarre circumstances ("Future Imperfect," "Schisms", "Frame of Mind".) And while it might seem like the sci fi idea of a character doubling himself falls into this category, the truth is that it plays out as something more ordinary -- like a story about a pair of bickering brothers. Had the idea been used in the first few seasons of the show, the result would have probably been worse. Fortunately, by the sixth season the show is able to turn the lackluster idea into a watchable episode (thanks largely to a great directorial debut from LeVar Burton and strong performances all around from the actors -- especially from Frakes, Sirtis, and the other Frakes.) Of note, real life astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison (the first black woman in space) has a cameo as the transporter operator.
  • Riker 2 is doomed to repeat the mistakes of Riker 1.

    This is a character-driven show - though there is some contrived action to further the plot, it's very much about Will Riker, his doppleganger, and the woman in the middle of the love triangle.

    Tom Riker is extremely likable. He is a more innocent Riker, without the edge and cynicism of power. He's also much more of a risk-taker, unafraid to butt heads with authority. Normally I don't notice this kind of stuff, but it seems the makeup artists went to the effort of making him look younger than the "real" Riker.

    Will Riker is the opposite of Tom - he acts like an insufferable jerk here, though not out of character. It's clear that, against what should have been his better instincts, he's picking on Tom because of internal insecurities.

    And Deanna - well, Marina Sirtis gives a nice, genuine, heartfelt performance. It's tough to criticize anything she does here.
  • The “Enterprise” returns to the planet Nervala IV to retrieve data left behind by Starfleet researchers when they were forced to evacuate eight years ago. While the away team is on the planet they find a living human.

    The “Enterprise” returns to the planet Nervala IV to retrieve data left behind by Starfleet researchers when they were forced to evacuate eight years ago. While the away team is on the planet they find a living human. You should see the look on Commander Riker’s face when he sees a mirror image of himself. How could there be two Will Riker’s. ? Commander Will Riker was the last to leave the planet eight years ago. Don’t worry Beverly Crusher finds out the truth. I am not going to spoil this one. It is a good episode to watch.
  • A fistful of RIKERS! A transporter malfunction on a planet eight years ago has created a molecular duplicate of Will Riker. The crew of the Enterprise now discovers the second Riker and learns of all the things that has happened to him in the past eight y

    I’ve always liked episodes that focused on Will Riker. So here, we get two Rikers for the price of one. A mishap involving a transporter and a distortion field eight years ago created a duplicate of Will Riker. But now the duplicate Riker (known as Thomas) is thrown back into the mix. I like the fact that they expressed in no uncertain terms, that this character is the exact same person. He’s not a clone, or a Riker from an alternate dimension. Upon until eight years ago, they shared the same memories, experiences and passions – including a burning passion for a certain Betazed counselor. Lemar Burton (Geordi LaForge) directed this episode and I think he did a pretty decent job when it came to the duel editing between the scenes where the individual Rikers share screen time. It’s a little choppy at first, and the dangling pauses between each character’s lines makes it pretty obvious that they were filmed separately. But as the episode proceeds, this no longer becomes a problem. The only thing that I didn’t like was the fact that they never truly resolved the friction between Commander Riker and Lt. Riker. Commander Riker is surly and belligerent towards his twin self throughout the entire episode, and the two never truly reach an accord with one another. But fortunately for TNG fans, the story doesn’t end with “Second Chances”. We will see Thomas Riker again in the Deep Space Nine episode, “Defiant”.
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