Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 2 Episode 22

Shades Of Gray

7
Aired Unknown Jul 17, 1989 on CBS
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

3.7
out of 10
Average
262 votes
  • One good thing...

    3.0
    There is ONE good thing - actually, excellent thing - about this episode: it marks the final appearance of Dr. Katharine Pulaski. I never cared for her character, and was so glad that she was short-lived. It's too bad they couldn't have had her fall down the turbolift shaft.
  • In the words of the Comic Book Guy, "WORST EPISODE EVER!!"

    2.0
    In my mind, this was the worst episode of Star Trek: TNG.



    Riker gets attacked by a plant. While in a coma, good/bad emotions make him better/worse (not sure which was which, and I really don't Clips from previous episodes are shown. I have recently become aware that there was a writer's strike, which prematurely cut the season to 22 episodes. I find it difficult to believe that this episode was written prior to the strike. Clip shows are not up to Star Trek's standards. It is more probable that they wanted to get one more episode released, so they threw together this clip show which required minimal effort on everybody's part. So, I rated this show a 2.0: Horrible when compared to other episodes, but better than having nothing.
  • really bad

    1.0
    and to the guy that gave this a perfect 10 because its so bad, you are a complete idiot. I hope you don't have a leadership position anywhere. You would reward people that do horrible at their work. You make it more difficult to have the good shows stand out when you give the bad ones a score like that.
  • All things considered, this should be worse....

    5.0
    .... The idea behind TNG season two finale "Shades of Gray" is that Riker contracts some kind of alien infection that must be combated with survival memories - but it's really just a clip show, featuring various different scenes from TNG's worst two seasons standing in for Riker's "memories." "Shades of Gray" has a reputation for being a terrible episode and rightfully so - but it is also widely considered the worst TNG episode of all-time. I do not go quite this far. "Shades of Gray" is undoubtedly a terrible episode; a lazy, corner-cutting effort born out of the writer's strike made simply to finish off the season. However, while certainly dull and pointless, "Shades of Gray" is not quite as irritating or insulting as such true TNG bottom-dwelling episodes as "Code of Honor," "Haven" or "The Outrageous Okona." Since "Shades of Gray" is simply dull rather than unbearable, I'll put it ahead of a few others in the TNG series.
  • What is the connection between the title "Shades Of Gray", and the actual (ahem) "plot"???

    1.0
    How exactly did the term "Shades Of Gray" apply here?



    That term usually applies to discussions about how most things are neither all GOOD or BAD, but some shade of gray, in between...???



    In that context... where's the connection to that term... and this show?



    Or was the "Gray" referring to the "gray matter" of Riker's brain???



    All so confusing, lol

    Pawpcorn
  • Unintentionally hysterical.

    10
    Why did I give this episode a perfect score? Because it's the most fun I've had watching a Trek episode in years. Don't misunderstand, this is truly an atrocious way to spend 45 minutes. On the other hand, it's also extremely funny if you can MST3K the hell out of it for the duration. There's no setup at all, just Riker sitting there all gimped out after having been stabbed in the leg by a vine. Dr. Pulaski discovers that the microbes invading Riker's body are slowed down by feeding his mind negative memories, and proceeds to spend the remaining two thirds of the episode "tightening the beam" of negativity. Each time she does this, the growth is slowed even more, and she pauses to debate what to do next with counselor Troi. They decide in their wisdom to tighten the beam even more, which (shocker!) slows the growth rate of the microbes yet again. She then pauses to say something along the lines of "I don't know how much longer he can withstand this", and then tightens the beam even more, which helps yet again - apparently even taking the time to record a log entry right in the middle of the procedure. It's complete filler and shows off her complete ineptitude as a doctor just before she departs the show. Troi's over-acting is classic, with lines like "hang on, Will...hang on!" just begging for laughter. In the end, they tighten the beam so much that it stops the growth - at which point, apparently the microbes just vanish without a trace, because they never actually succeed in *reversing* the process at all. Seriously, watch this and take a shot every time the doctor and Troi decide to "refocus and tighten the beam even more" and you'll be plastered by the time the credits roll. Just classic Trek in every way.
  • Riker is disabled by a deadly virus and is put into stasis, forced to relive his old memories.

    1.0
    Hands down, the worst Star Trek episode of all time. (It, was conceived during a writer's strike and shot in three days with hardly any money) It's bad enough that it's the only clip show in the history of the franchise, (happening at the worst time it could: all the clips are, of course from TNG's two worst seasons.) What's worse is that the "story" in this episode necessitates that the clips get quicker and darker as the episode approaches its climax. So as the episode nears its resolution, we end up watching all the suffering that has happened on the Enterprise D during the first two seasons of the show. Thankfully, after this bump in the road, the TNG would flourish.
  • The main storyline Commander Riker gets a nasty thorn that injures him. It then poisons him with nerotoxins that attack the nervous system. Riker almost faces death on this one, but Dr pulaski saves him by inducing survival memories. I as a Star Trek fan

    2.0
    The main storyline Commander Riker gets a nasty thorn that injures him. It then poisons him with nerotoxins that attack the nervous system. Riker almost faces death on this one, but Dr Pulaski saves him by inducing survival memories. This is Dr Pulsaki's last season. Good news Doctor Crusher will return next season. This episode is not a good season ending episode. I as a Star Trek fan thinks this one is at the bottom of the barrel. I rate this one a 2.0. *The whole second season started late due to a writer's strike. Resulting in a short season.
  • On an away mission, Riker is infected by deadly microbes whose only goal is to induce a clip-show.

    1.0
    I know that they were suffering from a writer's strike, but this is a truly pitiful episode. Despite all the surgery, it felt like nothing really happened in the entire episode! Sure, Riker was in mortal danger, but there are better ways to go about dealing with such mortal danger than a clip-show of all things. I would much rather they had ended the season in an entirely different fashion. At the very least, they could have afforded Pulaski an exit, though the same could be said for the 3rd season episode "Evolution" which seems to almost shun the doctor by not even subtantially mentioning her name!

    This is a poor episode for Pulaski to leave. "Peak Performance" would have at least allowed her personality to shine through. I did however like some of the dialogue between Riker and the crew as he lay on his sickbay bed both before and after the procedure. We are also afforded the opportunity to see perhaps the first true surgery in TNG. But that was not enough to grant this episode a free pass.

    It was the only true clipshow in Trek history and I'm afraid I simply don't have many good words for this episode as it is easily one of the worst episodes among all of Star Trek. Almost anyone could have cobbled this together and as such it doesn't get my vote of confidence. I would have rated it a zero, but the interface wasn't accepting it, so I chose the next worse rating.
  • When Riker is infected with a microbe, the only way to save him is to induce memories. Good memories worsen the symptoms. Only violent memories eradicate the microbe. Counselor Troi stays by his side during the ordeal and reinforces her passion for him

    1.2
    Writer's strike or not, this episode should have been shelved. It was pathetic. Flashbacks are a writer's last resort when the muse fails. Deanna Troi's constant vigil at Riker's bedside was annoying, given the writers' years' long tease about their relationship. The only good part was that it was Dr. Pulaski's last episode. She was a poor substitute for Beverly Crusher. Pulaski was arrogant, called Data "It", made fun of him in his Sherlock Holmes hologram programs, used him for her own ego to challenge an opponent to a game even Data could not win. The only redeeming quality was Riker answering that of course he knew who he was: Captain Picard, and Data deadpanning the line he did not think Picard could promote him to admiral when Picard said he and Admiral Data were glad to hear it.
  • Riker is injured by a vine, and he brings us down into a clip show with him.

    1.6
    It is appropriate that I write this article when we seem to be mired in a Hollywood writer's strike that has put many of the day's shows on hiatus, in limbo, or just simply forgotten. We are also likely to be subjected to a plethora of uninspired reality shows, so I thought we could find at least a small bit of comfort that this time around there is no new Trek on TV to suffer the pangs of this strike.

    The year was 1989. Just one year prior to this, a six-month writer's strike interfered with the last few episodes of the first season and caused Season 2 to be shortened from 26 episodes to 22. Scripts from the previous attempt to resurrect the franchise on television were scavenged to help save the season, and in what will no doubt be considered the weakest season finale episode in Trek, if not television, history, "Shades of Grey" was hastily slapped together with little more thought than a toddler has to eating an Arrowroot cookie. Writer Maurice Hurley, who was on his way out from the series, admitted that the story was "terrible, just terrible", and I cannot think of a single person involved in it who was the least bit positive about the show. It took a record three days to film, and I think that the only thing that many fans would find as a point in favour of the show was that it was the final appearance of Dr. Pulaski.

    So here is the story line in a nutshell. Riker is leading an away team on the planet of the day where he is injured by a thorn. That's right, a thorn takes down the indomitable William T. Riker. He is beamed back to the Enterprise, where he quickly slips into a coma. It is learned that the bacteria on the thorn are attacking his nervous system, and they are directly affected by the emotions that he is feeling. Warm-fuzzy feelings of love and romance cause the microbes to grow, while dark feelings of anger, sorrow, and violence cause the microbes to regress.

    It's this whole emotion thing that leads us into the clip show portion that was used to pad out the show. We see scenes from the past two seasons that are significant to Commander Riker, including the deaths of Tasha Yar and Troi's son, being assaulted by Klingons and alien-possessed admirals, and every women over the last two years he had a fling with. Ultimately, the therapy works, and Riker is saved.

    While clip shows are often used in some shows, I felt that this one was simply a cheap short cut. I think several people will agree that this was almost an episode not worth making. Yet despite all of that, it does serve a purpose today: it reminds us that Writer's Strikes are no good for television, and this strike needs to be resolved quickly!
  • This is widely regarded as the worst episode of TNG ever made - and I can see why. Quite simply it isn't worth the film it's shot on.

    1.0
    So the writers strike was to blame for this piece of trash. I wish the producers had just cut their losses and NOT BOTHERED.

    I hate clip shows - always have and always will. No matter how well they are done, they still leave the audience feeling cheated and conned. Thankfully this lamentable episode is the only Star Trek clip show ever made. They clearly learned their lessons.

    It's a struggle to sit through this. Most painful is the fact that many of the clips used are from TNG's absolute worst episodes (Justice, The Last Outpost, Up the Long Ladder...), which we were all trying forget. The attempt to incorporate them is pretty feeble and embarrassing: two adjectives that succinctly sum up this whole episode.

    Avoid. At all costs.
  • An episode that deserves its reputation as TNG's worst.

    2.5
    It's a shame that the 2nd season of TNG, which in general improved upon its predecessor in every way, closed with this stinker. Garden-variety terrible episodes like "Justice" or "Code of Honor" can't even compete at this level of sheer awfulness.

    The episode usually gets lambasted for being a clip show, and for good reason. Most of the clips from the first season remind us how much the show sucked back then, and those from the second season are nothing to write about either.

    But it's weak in a lot of other ways as well. The script falls completely flat, there is some painfully bad acting (especially from Marina Sirtis - yikes!), and in a lot of ways recalls the worst of season 1.

    Picking a number to rate this episode is a pointless exercise -- it just sucks.
  • Woeful

    2.5
    If you ever want to catchup on the key events of Rikers life during the past two seasons then watch this! For me this episode cops out by using so much past footage to save on budget! Maybe if theyd produced new footage of Rikers pre-Enterprise days it would have made a decent episode but as it is there is nothing to see.

    Even the overall plot is shoddy with Riker being infected by a plant organism and being close to death. Again this was underplayed to much, with not enough being shown in the medical centre. Should have been more frantic action by Dr.Palanski, more near misses, skipped heartbeats, etc.

    In short there just isnt enough to make you interested, keep you viewing, play havoc with your emotions and thus set you up for any kind of meaningful ending. Even if for a second we could suspend belief that Riker wont make it, this episode doesnt make you care if he does.

    Shockingly bad, probably the worst episode ever and not forgetting unworthy of a season finale.
  • Clipshow episode, a subgenre that I would ban the first day I would rule the world.

    4.0
    Well, it is an episode built by putting a few completely random scenes from older episodes together. Knowing that, one cannot hope it will be fun to watch.

    Riker heard that Dr. Pulaski is getting bored so he went to an unknown planet and got a nice, deadly disease. Alien microbes merged with his neural system and Riker's death was imminent. But there's still hope - by making his brain remember bad memories, Dr. Pulaski manages to cure him. That's for the VERY boring part. If you can, be sure to fast forward this.

    And now the fun stuff! Too bad this part is only about 1 minute long. Riker regains consciousness and Picard comes to visit him. Pulaski suggests he could be suffering a memory loss and asks if he remembers who he is. Then a great joke takes place. And then the credits.
  • This is widely regarded as the worst episode of TNG ever made - and I can see why. Quite simply it isn't worth the film it's shot on.

    1.0
    So the writers strike was to blame for this piece of trash. I wish the producers had just cut their losses and NOT BOTHERED.

    I hate clip shows - always have and always will. No matter how well they are done, they still leave the audience feeling cheated and conned. Thankfully this lamentable episode is the only Star Trek clip show ever made. They clearly learned their lessons.

    It's a struggle to sit through this. Most painful is the fact that many of the clips used are from TNG's absolute worst episodes (Justice, The Last Outpost, Up the Long Ladder...), which we were all trying forget. The attempt to incorporate them is pretty feeble and embarrassing: two adjectives that succinctly sum up this whole episode.

    Avoid. At all costs.
  • This episode is terrible. What was the point of it???

    1.0
    Of all of the things they could have done for a season finale, they had to do this. I have not yet seen every episode of the show, so I cannot say that this is the worst. However, after watching it, I can safely assume that it most likely is the worst episode of TNG. In this episode, Riker gets pricked by a thorn. The thorn puts some microbes into him and they start to spread. To save his life, Dr. Pulaski has to stimulate his nerves, causing him to relive memories. So it's a clip show. This could have been good if it had been in season 6 or 7, as it would cause you to remember the great times you had watching TNG. But in Season 2????? Seriously, that was just a stupid idea. There isn't enough material to make a good clip show. Although it was probably due to the writer's strike, couldn't they have come up with SOMETHING? This episode is terrible. My reccomendation is to just skip this one.
  • Writer's Strike

    0.0
    In case anyone was wondering why this episode sucked so much, or why this season had only 22 episodes, there was a writer\'s strike and they threw together this episode because they needed one more. They did a clip show was merely because they had no real script for the episode.
  • All I can say is that this is a poor effort for an end of season episode.

    1.0
    This is a poor end of season episode. It feels like the writers lost inspiration and created a filler episode. There are a lot of flashbacks highlighting not even the best of the series so far. This story barely managed to hold my attention whilst I did the washing up. Lets hope the next end of season episode lets me stack the dishes!
  • Flashback episodes are always disappointments, especially only in the 2nd season of a series.

    3.1
    This was a ridiculous waste of time. There was no reason to have a flashback episode. I can only surmise that the network, at that time, had run out of money for a real episode. Maybe some of the main actors were on vacation? Anyhow, the episode merely comes up with a reason (Riker being life-threatening ill) to show various clips of what we've seen of Riker, which it plays off as his memories. Maybe they felt that Riker hadn't been well established as a character. The clips show him to be a ladies' man, a fighter, emotional when necessary, and able to take a lot of pain. To what purpose? I can't tell you. I'd recommend just passing this one over. Even the writing was ridulous. Dr. Puloski merely repeats over and over that she will tighten the "sequence" or something like that. Literally. That's about all the action that takes place.

    TO end, I do appreciate clip shows when a series is several years in place. It reminds me of things that happened and how I felt when they did. But so soon? THey even kept reusing the same clips-proof that there wasn't enough footage yet. The motives for this episode are a mystery that I lack to interest to solve.
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